On Sunday afternoon, Ajax was totally trampled in just fifteen minutes. In the 21st minute, PSV took a 1-0 lead, and 14 minutes later, with a 3-0 score on the board, the game was a done deal.
In this second top match of the week, Ajax stuck with the same formation as they had in the first. So, just like in Wednesday’s match against AEK, they played without captain Matthijs de Ligt. Carel Eiting was in the squad and Frenkie de Jong moved one line back.
But the fact that (recent) performances offer no guarantees was immediately made very clear by PSV in Eindhoven. Ajax had barely even seen keeper Jeroen Zoet from nearby when PSV took the lead. In the 21st minute, Gaston Pereiro grabbed his goal against Ajax. Andre Onana initially made the save on Steven Bergwijn’s shot, but the Uruguayan’s low shot was too strong for him: 1-0.
Second blow follows quickly
Ajax was unable to recover from this first blow, because it became 2-0 just two minutes later. Luuk de Jong reacted quickly when Frenkie de Jong lost possession, and pulled the trigger. In the 35th minute, if possible, things got even worse. Onana wasn’t able to control Bergwijn’s shot, and the former Ajacied was able to make a pass and Hirving Lozano scored the 3-0 goal. A blocked shot by Hakim Ziyech was as far as Ajax got in the first half.
All or nothing
At the start of the second half, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Lasse Schöne were replaced by Donny van de Beek and Kasper Dolberg. Ten Hag had nothing to lose. Ajax managed to approach Zoet more often, with, among others, a shot by Ziyech that went over. But it wasn’t enough. At no time did Ajax give the impression that they believed they could come back in the game. Still, they had one good opportunity; in the 77th minute, Blind and Eiting came close to the 3-1, but they were again unable to pass Zoet.
In the final minutes, Ryan Gravenberch made his debut in Ajax 1. The 16 year-old player came in for David Neres in the 82nd minute, and immediately made history. He is 142 days younger than Clarence Seedorf was when he made his debut, at the time the youngest ever to do so.