Ajax will head into the interland period with some negative feelings. The top match against PSV resulted in a 1-2 loss. Pereiro and Younes scored in the opening minutes. Eleven minutes before time, the same Uruguayan winger scored again, 1-2.
Ajax’s squad for this Eredivisie game wasn’t much different than Thursday’s, in which it tied the Norwegian team Molde 1-1 in their Europa League game. Only Arek Milik lost his starting spot – but not because of his performance, as De Boer was quick to clarify. “But I want to see movement in front, and I expect to get that with Viktor Fischer and Amin Younes.”
Prior to this sixtieth edition of Ajax – PSV, the Ajax coach was saddled with considerably fewer problems than his fellow coach, Phillip Cocu. PSV’s trainer did, surprisingly, have Andrés Guardado at his disposal, but had to make do without Jetro Willems, Luuk de Jong and Maxime Lestienne, absent due to family circumstances. His replacement, Gastón Pereiro, made his presence felt immediately. In the seventh minute, he scored the opening goal. By doing this, he ensured that Jasper Cillessen didn’t add a record to his name. Ajax hadn’t given up a single goal in seven home games, and had it become eight, Cillessen would have had a record of eight clean sheets to his name. But, just like in 1997, it was PSV who put an end to this great streak.
The early setback didn’t deter Ajax for very long. Three minutes after that goal against, Ajax gained possession after Joël Veltman’s English tackle on the ball. Anwar El Ghazi started up Ajax’s offense, passed to Bazoer, whose shot was stopped. But Amin Younes came up, and the German squared the game for Ajax with a sure shot in the tenth minute, 1-1.
PSV had the chance to take the lead again at the end of the first half. Jürgen Locadia, who had gained possession after Riedewald got caught up by two PSV players, outplayed Cillessen, but Veltman prevented an Eindhoven goal by sliding the ball into corner. From the corner kick that followed, Bruma made a header and Bazoer was the guardian angel who made the save at the goal line.
In the second half, the home team didn’t manage to bend the champions to its will. After Pröpper’s shot for PSV hit the post, Ajax had two good opportunities after attacks via Fischer and Younes. Both shot the ball over the goal. With Serero in for the exhausted Younes, Dane Fischer shifted to left wing. From this position, he was able to move in in the seventieth minute. His shot hit the post. With Milik in for Gudelj, Ajax tried to turn the tide, but the home team wasn’t able to find its rhythm this afternoon. The top match seemed fated to end in a draw when Pereiro scored the 1-2 goal in the 79th minute.
De Boer was disappointed and realistic: “This is a well-deserved win for PSV and we didn’t play well. I didn’t enjoy my team today. We were reactive and were often not one, but two steps behind, and that’s not how you get into a game. When we had possession we weren’t in motion enough, or didn’t have enough confidence. I don’t know what it was. We weren’t in the match at all, not for one moment. You can say that Fischer had the 2-1 goal at his feet, but we wouldn’t have deserved that. I don’t think it was structural problem, but the whole team had an off-day.”
Ajax remains in the lead after this defeat but Feyenoord has now pulled even with them. PSV is two points behind and Heracles, one. There will be no competition football next week due to interlands.