The season’s first half came to a strange, sad end on Wednesday. The Ajax – AZ (1-0) cup match ended after 37 minutes when AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek pulled his team off the field after an incident. This incident occurred after a supporter ran onto the field and attacked AZ keeper Esteban. The keeper reacted by kicking back, and received a red card, in accordance with regulations. The KNVB must now decide what will be the outcome of this match.
Verbeek made this decision because he felt the AZ players’ safety was at risk. Frank de Boer: “I don’t know how I would react in a situation like that, because I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
At the moment referee Bas Nijhuis definitively put an end to the match, Ajax was in the lead, 1-0. Gregory van der Wiel had opened the score in the ninth minute. On a pass from Nicolás Lodeiro, the right back crowned a beautiful rush with a goal. In the next thirty minutes, Ajax had good opportunities from Davy Klaassen, who, like Dico Koppers and Ricardo van Rhijn, was part of the starting line-up. Van Rhijn and Ajax escaped narrowly in the 28th minute when Brett Holman was hauled down in the penalty kick area. Ten minutes later, that incident was soon forgotten when the incident with the supporter and AZ keeper occurred.
De Boer: “It’s a strange, sad close to 2011. The first half of the season is suddenly over. I wished all of the players happy holidays and told them I’d see them again on January 3rd. It’s just very sad.”