Ajax face a tough task in the Amsterdam ArenA next week. The Amsterdammers have to erase a 2-1 deficit against FC Twente after losing the first leg of the playoff finals.
For the third time tis season, Ajax could not defeat FC Twente. After a draw and a loss in the regular season, the team lost for the first time in this year's playoffs on Saturday. To reach the qualifying round of the Champions League, Ajax will have to do better in the return. ,,But there is no reason for panic'', coach Adrie Koster said. We have to win by 1-0, that's enough. But clearly that is not going to be easy, so it will be close.”
The match was played in the little stadium of FC Emmen, because FC Twente's home the Arke Stadium is under reconstruction. FC Twente had the uper hand in the first 45 minutes, but Ajax had the best chances. An attempt by Kenneth Perez was cleared off the goal line early in the match and after 30 minutes Gabri had a clear path toward goalkeeper Sander Boschker, but he did not score. Klaas Jan Huntelaar also had two chances to give his team the lead. It was not until the 44th minute that Ajax scored. Luis Suarez, found by Perez, kept his defender at bay and scored. ,,An ideal moment to take the lead”, Koster said.
The turning point came when FC Twente was given a penalty in the 66th minute. Luke Wilkshire shot the ball against the hand of Jan Vertonghen, who really could do little about that. Blaise N’Kufo scored from the spot and made it 1-1. The equaliser lifted Twente's spirit. Ten minutes later it was 2-1. Hersi, Huysegems and N’Kufo combined and the latter scored again.
Ajax face FC Twente again on Sunday 18 May at 14.30 hours. The team wil be without Jan Vertonghen in the ArenA. The defender received his second yellow card and will be suspended.