MOTD: PSV 2-3 Ajax

PSV Eindhoven v Ajax Amsterdam - Eredivisie

Game in a sentence

Ajax all but clinches their third consecutive Eredivisie title with a thrilling victory behind enemy lines at Philips Stadion.

Observations

  • For the first time in 18 years Ajax completes the double versus PSV Eindhoven.While exciting, the game was littered with errors. To be honest, that’s what makes this fun. Title races across Europe have long been over, but the battle in Holland was the final domino to fall. PSV will feel hard done by the result. They carried play for large stretches before succumbing to their rivals thanks to an odd substitution by Dick Advocaat.
  • Erik Pieters hadn’t played since January. His last appearance at Philips ended with a red card and a trip to the hospital. Jetro Willems drew the ire of Advocaat after being exposed by Lasse Schöne. Pieters came on for Willems soon after and everything went to hell.
  • Pieters’ gaffe in the 77th minute led to Derk Boerrigter’s match winner. The defender’s mistake will garner the headlines, but Boerrigter did well to keep his composure.
  • Ajax had won one of their last seven away games when conceding more than 10 shots. PSV managed 17 today. The Rood-witten dominated the opening 20 minutes. Ajax, didn’t need three points and it showed in the early moments. Jeremain Lens, PSV’s best player on this day, was buzzing.
  • And yet, the visitors opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. An errant deflection from veteran strongman Mark van Bommel set the ball on a tee for the Icelander. MVB had an interesting game for all the wrong reasons. My favourite moment came when van Bommel chastised Christian Poulsen for a trio of rash challenges–he had a point, somehow the Dane avoided punishment– that MVB would proudly acknowledge as his own handy work.
  • Frank de Boer after the game: “We deservedly won. We’ve dealt a big blow to PSV and received gifts from Vitesse and Feyenoord. It’s looking very good for Ajax.” Vitesse and Feyenoord managed draws this weekend. Losers.
  • PSV did not go quietly. Lens equalized just before halftime, benefiting from a Christian Eriksen giveaway and a disjointed Ajax high line. Lens’ 14th goal of the season came nine minutes after Sigthorsson’s opener.
  • Eriksen redeemed himself seven minutes after the restart, scoring a wonderful goal after Canadian Atiba Hutchinson was caught out. Can’t wait for the endless Eriksen transfer speculation this summer. By ‘can’t wait’ I actually mean I’m terrified, of course.
  • Once again PSV pushed right back. An excellent backheel from Kevin Strootman set up a good chance for Dries Mertens in the 58th minute. Georgino Wijnaldum, Ola Toivonen & Co. pressed forward with every opportunity. Lens tied it again in the 69th minute. Ajax deservedly won in the mind of their coach, but PSV dedicated themselves to creating chances. While their title pursuit  is likely over–they trail by five points–this was a better than decent performance.
  • Chelsea and Manchester City lodged a spirited battle at Wembley. The end was fun to watch, but a clash of two top teams with something on the line was too much to pass up. Would do it again.
  • Boy Waterman is a fantastic name.

Three stars

1. Jeremain Lens

2. Daley Blind

3. Christian Eriksen