What a great Sunday. Ajax defeated FC Utrecht at home by 4-1, and PSV lost to AZ by 1-0. This means that Ajax is as good as assured to win its 34th championship. The are three points ahead of PSV, with one game to go (Wednesday at De Graafschap).
The song resounded in the ArenA prior to kick-off: ‘Bloed, Zweet en tranen’ (Blood, Sweat and tears). And Ajax needed all of these elements for this home game against FC Utrecht, because in the first minute, the first goal was scored – and it wasn’t for the home team. Othmane Boussaid countered in the transition on the left side and beat Onana in the far corner. That was a tough blow after the last-minute elimination from the Champions League last Wednesday. Ajax needed to fight back, needed to remain focused on the championship mission, and go all out to make this vision come true.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar, selected as centre forward, tied up the game at fifteen minutes: 1-1. Under the leadership of a very energetic Hakim Ziyech, Ajax pulled out all the stops to turn the tide. A hard-working and resilient Ajax got what it deserved before the break:
a lead. Donny van de Beek scored with a header and the entire Johan Cruijff ArenA hoped that this lead would remain on the scoreboard for the rest of the afternoon.
Although Ajax had opportunities in the second half – Van de Beek and Huntelaar, among others, appeared regularly before Jensen - the game remained tense. Utrecht hadn’t come here to lose.
But Ajax picked itself up. As the last fifteen minutes approached, the F-Side chanted the club anthem loudly, and Dusan Tadic promptly scored the 3-1 from a corner! For minutes later, the 4-1 goal was scored on a penalty kick.
Six minutes before time, Hakim Ziyech received a deafening applause when he left the field, substituted by Daley Sinkgraven. The fans sang his name, the coach gave him a firm hug, and the Moroccan star took his place calmly on the bench. Another highlight almost came: substitute Lassina Traoré almost continued an Ajax tradition of scoring in the final minute. But the striker’s shot exploded on the crossbar.
The win was in the bag, and when the final whistle blew at AS – PSV, a spontaneous celebration erupted in the Johan Cruijff ArenA!