In a spectacular and emotional match, in which the championship hopes would either come to life or be relinquished to the backburner, Ajax brought PSV to its knees with a 3-1 victory!
The pre-game atmosphere was excellent. The tone was set for the show between the two titans for the 2018 – 2019 championship race with a beautiful display of fireworks. PSV, with a 5-point lead against Ajax, was in a more comfortable position than Erik ten Hag’s team, who absolutely needed a win in order to remain a contender. And even then, the team would need to hope for the current champion to make another mis-step down the line.
It was clear that Ajax needed to perform. All players, including Hakim Ziyech – who had been injured against AZ – applied immediate pressure onto the central defensive duo of Viergevern and Schwaab. The first was forced to make a save at his goal line after just three minutes.
Schwaab passes Zoet, 1-0!
After an energetic opening phase, Ajax took the lead at the 21st minute. Ziyech made a beeline for where Jeroen Zoet appeared poised to make the save, but his defender Daniel Schwaab sent the ball into his own goal: 1-0 Ajax!
After this goal, an intriguing volleyball battle ensued, compromising the beauty of the game in exchange for passion. For the first time this season, PSV was unable to sent a single shot between the posts in the first half.
In the second half, Neres was imposing, with a beautiful Samba-move in the PSV penalty kick area, but it was Lozano who had the best opportunity in the 53rd minute. Onana made an outstanding save on his low shot, after which Matthijs de Ligt was able to downgrade the ball into a corner.
Red card and tying goal
Shortly after that, Noussair Mazraoui was forced to leave the field. Initially, his high leg received a yellow card from referee Kuipers, but after a consultation with the video referee, he was sent off the field. Ajax had to continue with just 10 men, and, right after play had resumed, Luuk de Jong scored: 1-1. Ajax had 33 minutes to keep the championship race interesting.
As a consequence of the red card, Ten Hag pulled Lasse Schone off the field and Joel Veltman came in as right back in the team.
Video Referee awards a penalty kick to Ajax: 2-1!
In the 70th minute, the video referee stepped in again. David Neres arrived in the box after a great play. Kuipers allowed play to continue, but the Video Assistant Referee saw a foul: penalty kick for Ajax. Dusan Tadic remained cool and scored the 2-1 goal.
Neres does it again!
In a fervent closing phase, in which Ten Hag brought in Rasmus Kristensen en Lisandro Magallán, and extra time was a whopping 6 minutes, the crowd roared again. The game was exciting until the last moment, and when David Neres was there put an end to the tension by sending a shot past Zoet: 3-1!