AZ’s Dutch Cup final defeat hangover was compounded after a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Ajax.

  • by Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike

If AZ were to finish second this season, they knew they had to beat Ajax and hope for a further slip-up from the Amsterdam side on the final day.

Despite an open first-half, neither side created many meaningful opportunities. AZ couldn’t exploit the space between Ajax’s midfield and defence, with inexperienced striker Ferdi Druijf leading the line for the visitors in place of injured talisman Wout Weghorst.

Shortly after a rousing 60-second applause for the unfortunate Abdelhak Nouri in the 34th minute, Ajax took the lead. Centre-back Matthijs De Ligt twisted and turned on the edge of the area before chipping in an inviting cross for Donny van de Beek to nod home his eleventh goal of the season.

Half-time was marked by a parade of Jong Ajax’s Eerste Divisie title-winning players, and supporters had even more to cheer about only minutes after the re-start when Ajax doubled their advantage. Hakim Ziyech launched a wonderful cross-field ball to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who nodded down for Justin Kluivert to take a touch on his right-foot and smash in with his left.

AZ struggled to find a way back into the game though. Continued pressure from Ajax followed. Kluivert and Schone fired wide and Neres had a tap-in ruled out for offside.

Ajax rounded off the win when Ziyech played in Neres, whose left-foot drive was too far into the top corner for Bizot to keep out.

Ajax are now certain to finish second place and AZ will finish third.

Michael Statham (818 Posts)

Writer/interviewer/YouTuber for Football-Oranje. Massive Dutch football fan from the UK. Follow me @EredivisieMike & subscribe to Football-Oranje on YouTube.