“Ajax’s biggest game ever”

We love hyperboles… We actually witnessed one in action yesterday. With Stevie G watching on from the stands in Anfield, the man who led his team to the CL win in Istanbul, after being 3-0 down at half time… That vibe was present in Liverpool yesterday and must have inspired the Reds like nothing else. And only a few people realised that we are watching a huge shift in hierarchy in world football. After many many CL finals, we will see a finals without either Messi or Ronaldo. Their reign ended. The new super stars are called Van Dijk. De Ligt. De Jong. And they will reign supreme in the next decade.

Tactics won yesterday. Tactics, Klopp’s to be precise, in combination with the typical English gung ho mentality and energy. And how is Wijnaldum a typical example of Liverpool’s heavy metal football. Gini runs, tackles, pushes, scores, jumps and passes… What a game, what a team! From their goalie to their right back to their Egyptian pharao Mo Salah. Respect!

And yes, Tottenham Hotspur will be inspired by the Liverpool feat. Sure. But it will also have done something with Ajax. Don’t worry.

Ten Hag calls it the biggest game in Johan Cruyff Arena ever. That is probably not true. But for him and his team, it will be true. And for all the fans tomorrow as well. It will be the first time in 23 years that Ajax might get into the CL finals. Two years ago, they reached the Europa League finals under Bosz, which was quite a feat already, but the prestige of the CL finals is unprecedented. In this century, no other Dutch club reached this far. In 1996 Ajax lost the finals vs Juve on penalties and that was it.

Should Ajax win the CL, they will add a cool 22.5M euros to their bank account. They’ll play the World Cup for clubs too which will bring them around 3.5M euros. All in all, this season Ajax could write 42.5M euros for reaching the group stages of the CL. And don’t forget, Ajax started all this early in the season as qualifiers… Ajax will earn around 100M in total as a result of their European adventure.

Dutch football in general will benefit greatly as Ajax will earn heaps of coefficiency points, which will result in an easier entry in European tournaments in the future.

What can we expect tomorrow?

It seems Ajax’ squad is top fit, with the exception of David Neres who has some slight issues (but will play).

Mazraoui is back in full fitness and his tremendous turn as a sub – in combi with Veltman’s not so great game – will probably mean he starts as right back again.

“When you have the ball you can avoid getting into duels. In the first phase of the first half, we demonstrated how this works” – Erik Ten Hag at the presser

This quote above tells us how Ten Hag will want to play. The same as he did in the first 30 mins at White Hart Lane. With Ziyech and Neres coming in tight. With Tadic dropping to midfield at times. With Frenkie de Jong dropping next to Blind and Veltman moving inside to offer more options. And zipping the ball from foot to foot.

“We didn’t anticipate their changes well enough and as a result it became fight football,” – Erik ten Hag on Ajax TV

Ajax failed to have enough players around target man Llorente to grab the second ball and entered the arena for fight where avoiding and using the space to play out of trouble was a wiser option.

“After the break we managed to set the team up to deal with Spurs. Defensively, we were well positioned and never really got into trouble” – Erik ten Hag for Veronica TV

In the second half, Neres and Ziyech don’t press together. Ziyech presses the central defenders while Neres drops back to support his midfield. Matthijs de Ligt follows Llorente to challenge the long balls while De Jong drops back to fill the space in the centre of defence. He also does this when Blind follows the wandering Moura.

When Spurs has longer spells of possession, Ziyech and Neres drop back as wide wingbacks. It’s telling that Hakim Ziyech had the most successful tackles of all Ajax players (6).

“We failed to execute our game in possession. We should have had the peace to keep the ball longer. There was so much space on the other end of the pitch and we should have used this for the change pass and to let Spurs run ragged. In those situations, you can pounce.” – Erik ten Hag for Veronica TV

Ajax sees most space available for the full backs and Ajax prefers to use Veltman, as Tagliaficio would use the space Frenkie de Jong likes to dribble into. The plan was for Ajax to use the ball on one flank and then use the cross pass to utilise the space on the other end. Ajax fails to do this. Until Mazraoui comes for Schone. The right back (and former playmaker) constantly finds space behind Eriksen, like with the spell which resulted in Neres shot on the post.

This will be the key lesson for Ten Hag: when Spurs uses the diamond in midfield, the interplay between Ajax’ holding midfielder and full backs allows them a route out of trouble. This will probably prove to be a convincing response to this Tottenham Hotspur version.

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  1. Great article Jan!

    I really looking forward of an Ajax Liverpool final

    To be honest I’m a bit scared tonight . 23 years of waiting , the Uk media seems all confident that spurs will score and win tonight at Amsterdam

    Spurs are a different club than Real Madrid and Juventus who are an arrogant side

    Hopefully Ajax will play Their top form and score an early goal , plus another goal

    If spurs score first we may get in big trouble

  2. I desperately want Ajax to make the final, but if they don’t I’ll still be pretty happy.

    The one thing I don’t want is for their recklessness to be their undoing. And not in the forward third, but in the back third.

    Onana has a tendency to hold the ball for a very long time, which almost backfired against Juve. Also the high defensive line on set pieces makes me nervous every time. I understand why they do it, but I could just see it collapsing.

  3. We don’t seem very tight on the Tottenham front line. Lots of openings for Son and Alli in the box so far. Blind is all over the place, but not in a good way.

  4. De Ligt has come so far since that Bulgaria game. He looks masterful.

    The announcers are correct; he and Virgil should be a great tandem for years to come…

  5. Ajax just seems always quicker to the ball. They are always on the front foot and moving. They never have to react from a standing position.

    If we do make the final, our ball movement vs their pressing will be exciting to watch.

  6. Ziyech looking sharp as well. Ajax came to play tonight, thankfully!

    Son almost in again! We’ve got to get things together back there. Blind just casually allowed that to roll right to Son.

    And now Eriksen — again right at Onana!

    Get it together back there!

  7. What a save by Onana on Alli!!!!

    You could see that developing on TV.

    I think ten Hag needs to make a change up front or maybe in the midfield

  8. Lucas Moura scores. Pretty bad defending there by the whole team. Schoen seems to be laboring again. I think we need more energy in the midfield and up top!

  9. Blind needs to provide the leadership in the back, but he continues to linger up the field. We’ve got to get organized and take control of this match again!

  10. 20 minutes left. Can we move Frenkie to centerback and remove Blind. He’s accomplishing nothing for us.

    Tadic and Sinkgraven not on the same page…

    Another chance off a great cross from de Ligt!

  11. I’m sorry but, after the break, Ajax came back on the pitch with the idea of not losing, same as Barça yesterday. Same as countless other teams before them. And. It. Never. Works.

    1. I disagree. You can win games if you know how to defend! With 3 goals up, you don’t need to score. You need to prevent your opponent from scoring. They have to go and commit to attacking in numbers and expose themselves at the back. A good team can exploit by using patience and counter-attacking. Seen it a million times.

      1. Of course you can win games if you know how to defend, and don’t need to go on all out attack when up 3-0.

        What I meant with the “idea of not losing” is the energy, passion, will to play was gone. They looked like ghosts.

        At the beginning of the second half, Ajax players didn’t want the ball, didn’t press, didn’t try to hold on to the ball.

  12. Such a shame. This game should have never been lost. Hubris and naivite did us. The coach should have done sth different in the 2nd half. I hate this sh!t. I wish Real eliminated us and I wouldn’t have to go through this torture. To lead 3-0 and lose like this is just unacceptable. All we will hear now is how monumentally Ajax collapsed instead how beautifully they played. We won’t see a team of ours get this far again for another decade.

    1. Naivete is quite correct. The first 20 min of the second half was atrocious. No desire to play. And even after that. Why the long balls, particularly from Onana? Why not try to keep the ball for a while?

  13. how to sleep?? how ur team counter attack when they are 3 goals up. i cannot undrestand. ajax have to do counter attack. but ajax 3 – 0 up and tottenham counter attack???

    1. How do you play in attack when you lead 3-0? DeLigt was caught in Spurs area when Moura was scoring 1-2. How do you keep pressing across the field like you’re on steroids? Against a team that has nothing to lose? Monumental coach failure. 2nd half we could have played counter but we chose to lose “beautifully” by attacking which means nothing. Zero. Down and out because of inability to control kids impulses . It is coach’s job to rein them in. Catastrophic . Fuc.k the beautiful football for one half against a depleted and eternal losing team. I wanted a final.

  14. It was great to have Dutch team in the semi-final of CL again. I believe last time it was PSV “100” years ago…I believe the strength of the leagues made a difference in today game. Ajax was unable to perform 100% entire 90 minutes and it was too much to handle for this young and talented team. In PL, TH play 50% of games in such an extreme regime, whereas Ajax – may be 1 or two games….It is sad that this team will not go to the next season intact. Half of the team will be sold and I suspect ten Hag will be most likely under the radars of big clubs….I believe that Dutch representation in the semifinal of the CL is a big signal that the Netherlands are coming back to the World football summit.

    1. I don’t think this was not about the strength of leagues. They were in control. Even after giving up two goals, they were a few seconds away from reaching a champions league final.

      What killed them was missing so many golden chances to put the game away and not knowing how to defend well. I also felt they missed Neres today. His counter-attacking runs kept the defenders and fullbacks busy all night in their previous games.

    1. Dolberg. Awful. His press was pathetic.

      We did not no how to play controlling possession football. At 2-0 (3-0) up, play keep ball between defence and midfield. Not every pass has to go forwards immediately. Bore Tottenham to death.

      But instead we choose sit back and try to do flash counter attacks, which made us more tired. Ands lets be honest, sitting back and defending is not in our psyche.

    2. wilson, it depends on how you measure a flop. If I could select the coach I would say Ten Hag. About the players I did not expect much from Dolberg and he proved to be trash. I know it will sound crazy but to me deLigt shares big blame for this loss. Here is why: When Moura scored the 1st goal in a counter attack deLigt was way deep into Spurs zone. He couldn’t get back on time to get in position and the game turned over from that moment on. If deLigt is in his place, Moura doesn’t score and the game is won. A captain reads the game and organizes the team. Why the heck was deLigt trying to score again when they were leading 3-0?! Immature at best. He is a phenomenal player but today he couldn’t carry his team.
      Losing the game when you lead 3-0 with 45 mins to go is one of the biggest blunders ever. It will take me a while to get over this. To get past Juve and Real and get hammered 3-0 in 45 mins by a depleted team that was coming on the back of 5 losses in a row is unbelievable. These guys have almost zero chance of getting this far again expect for those who will move to big clubs. A shame and I hope Ten Hag owns to it. Such a pity for all those kids in the stands.

  15. Also with Mazouri and Ziyech fasting, you could see that energy levels were low especially for Ziyech (not that I blame them). Ziyech had a good game.

    But if we played a more controlled possession game, the ball does the work so that the man does not have to run as hard!!

  16. For me, a dream died tonight. A dream that talent and youth can overcome in this capitalist world completely driven by money and riches and rise to the top. And if you can’t dream in football…. then what do you have left….

  17. Quiet rightly there were alot of factors. Absence of neres,Ajax playing over the weekend compared to first leg where spurs complained why ajax received dayoff, fatigue,influences of min son, and overall how the game was building up to be. In the first leg the spurs tried to stretch the defense in order to bring Llorente into the game but they were unsuccessfully. They were successful this time around particularly on the right flank where Rose, Alli and Son stretched the defense to create space in the middle.

    Conclusively again this goes on to show its always about the best team when it comes to final stages. Down 2-0 at HT, pochettino still looked ambitious. Pure peserverence.

  18. It was a nightmare. Again cruyff arena, again 3-2. Again last minute goal. After germany game i think our lads undrestnad many things. But it was again happened. I cannot undrestand TH first goal. How they attack with 4 players and ajax defend with 3 player when ajax 3-0 up. Nowhere see like this again.

    1. You nailed it right there! “How they attack with 4 players and ajax defend with 3 player when ajax 3-0 up. Nowhere see like this again”

      It is this Dutch obsession with attacking at all times. Very predictable for opponents. It’s great when it works but when it doesn’t, there is no plan B!!!

      1. i cannot accept u. bcox in london, ajax did it. ajax play defensively game really good but today, they want make 4-0 5-0. what they think!

  19. From the very beginning I already said it , and I said it more
    Than once – this spurs is a different team than all the others Ajax have faced .

    They have got something which Bayern , real , junventes lack off

    Ajax lost because all the many reasons , and most of it experience

    Our players will learn and grow from this
    They are still so young and even though they may leave and go to some other clubs , they will shine and all the smiling faces will be back soon

    A big Contribution to Dutch football as well as Oranje! Proud of this Ajax team and hope it will motivate all the other Dutch clubs also

  20. What a disaster 45 minutes 🙁

    In the end, fair play to Tottenham.
    They didn’t deserve to win, but they made their luck and snatched the victory almost at the last second of the last minute. That’s definitely another display of a giant mentality to be able to achieve their victory.

    For Ajax, again, what was a disastrous 45 mins. In the 2nd half, they looked inexperienced, naive, and mentally weak. After the game, Mourinho commented in reference to their lack of adaptability to the game that Ajax played that half like they were playing against Vitesse. To be honest, they played like they were Vitesse, if not worse.
    It’s not true that they don’t know how to manage a game. Just a week ago in Tottenham, 1-0 up but on the back foot for the majority of the second half, they knew how to manage the game, remain composed, see out the game and maintain the score line.

    Any other time, I would comment that it was a good run for a group of players full of potential, a great experience as well I’m sure, and I would say there’s always next year, etc…

    Unfortunately, this brings on the most important realization of the night: there is no next year, we will never see this team again, not with same group of players, with the same chemistry, hunger and determination. Erik ten Hag, I’m sure is a great coach and did a great job moulding a fascinating group of players out of almost nothing and transform them to a team, up there with the best in Europe and challenging for the biggest honor. But surely things won’t be the same after De Jong leaves for Barcelona and all the big teams start poaching the remaining star players until there’s no one left.
    This has to be up there as one of the biggest tragedies the gods of football have ever inflicted on the world of football. It’s a fairytale story with no end. It’s Ned Stark on the chopping block losing his head, way before his time (x100).
    The Dutch league should react honestly. The Netherlands have been producing magnificent generations of players every few years, and the attitude is to let’s just sell them as mercenaries to the highest bidder.
    I disagree that nothing can be done about this. Maybe the Dutch league needs to band with the Belgian one, raise the value and competition of the new league, open up their teams to investors and much needed investment, to be able to start competing with the other top leagues in Europe. While the EPL could still be a step too far, there’s nothing that suggests that the Dutch (+ Belgians) can’t compete in terms of footballing entertainment and be more interesting than the Bundesliga, or Serie A or Ligue 1 or even La Liga.

      1. @ ramy.

        I wouldnt say that this was one of best generation of players. There is bunch of players who are coming in the ranks who could replicate the performance of the current team if they stick around. They is still room for improvement in the current ajax team.

  21. Hopefully, the players from last night can regroup in time, and manage to win the Dutch League, but way more importantly, in time to stick it back to these English players at the Nations League.

  22. One thing I didn’t understand was why Ajax GK and CBs were constantly hoofing the ball forward. None of the Ajax player won a single header from this long ball and in turn Spurs came back attacking. This happened constantly but they were still doing it. It’s not like Ajax don’t know how to pass the ball on ground.

    Also, Tadic has to share some blame. Got couple of chances to keep the ball near corner flag but inexplicably failed.

  23. Hey guys,

    I do not think any Ajax player and especially Ten Hag deserve any blame. They did what was impossible to imagine a year ago: reaching the semi-final of the CL that has been by default the privilege of the clubs from the top four European leagues. We can criticize everybody, say smart suggestions and things but the reality is that Ajax once more showed to entire World that Dutch football is ALIVE that we are BACK and that WC-2020 will be OURS! And may be some day in my life span I will see again my AZ Alkmaar in the final of EL or CL like in 1981. So, instead of getting sad , let’s celebrate the triumph of the Dutch football, and look forward to coming years. I am very excited about Oranje and coming years and I swear I am no on Prozac 🙂

    1. I agree AZ-forever.

      This is not about blame. No one individual was at fault.

      If you asked me pre-season if I’d like Ajax to make it to the Champions League semi, I’d have said “hell yeah!!”

      But the reality is that once we got their we faced a team that we were better than. In Christien Erikson’s own words ‘we played the better football and they (Tottenham) got lucky’.

      My frustration is that we didn’t capitalise on this amazing opportunity. An opportunity that we as a team had the right tools in our armoury but failed to use in that second half…. play dictative possession football.

    2. AZ, I wish I could smoke what you have 🙂
      Dutch football is beautiful when it works but it almost always ends in a tragedy. I lost hope dutch can ever learn how to win. Good for you to be able to celebrate, I just couldn’t sleep last night. Blame needs to be assigned if there is any chance to learn from an experience such as this one. Just like they deserved all the accolades until 45 mins before choking they need to look in the mirror and say “how did we screw up like this?”. It had nothing to do with Pochetino’s genius. He just threw in whoever had in bench, had no choice. Ajax were cocky and arrogant. At end of fist half several players were grinning like this was the easiest game ever. Ten Hag should be the first one to self criticize and own to it. This is the biggest choke in dutch history. I am afraid it will cause long term damage to the your players psyche. They may not win Eredivisie too.
      The pain is so unbearable because we know that it will take years to get this far again. This is no Barca which is guaranteed to challenge every year.
      And I do remember AZ-Ipswitch Town 4-2 (0-3). I was so sad Kees Kist didn’t lift the UEFA cup. A fantastic team it was.

  24. Was really looking forward to Liverpool-Ajax finals. Imagined Wijnaldum vs FDJ and VDB; Van Dijk vs De Ligt and Blind.

    Anyway, I have a feeling that aside from FDJ, De Ligt and VDB, the rest of the current XI will stay on and with new signings and upcoming new stars (Carel Eiting, Ryan Gravenberch and Per Schuurs), and Ajax can have a good run again in the CL next season.

    On a diff note, feels that Magallan is a certain Van Der Hoorn…hopefully not..😓

  25. I am admittedly still in shock from yesterday. I don’t know if I feel worse after this loss or the WC in 2010.

    I think this actually hurts more because there was so much counter-intuitive hope involved here. Ajax playing in the Champions League final in this economic era makes no sense, but it was seconds away from happening!

    And the real shame is it is unlikely to ever happen again. Frenkie, de Ligt and van de Beek will all be gone soon and perhaps others as well.

    I know a lot of you are all over Erik ten Hag about this defeat, but in all honesty he is the one who got us here. He is the coach that put together this attractive style that we’ve played to such great success. None of the recent Ajax managers achieved this. Even LVG’s team of 25 years ago was not so stylish with far greater talent.

    Ajax will go on, but to maintain this momentum, I certainly think we need to retain ten Hag. He will learn from this experience, as will all the players involved, and maybe this loss will even make Oranje stronger going forward, and prevent the types of lapses we’ve often experienced internationally.

    In the immediate future is the Nations League, and already the English press is lamenting how many Liverpool and Tottenham players will be playing in the CL final on June 1 (just a few days before England plays the Netherlands). Had Ajax made the final, all of those Tottenham players would instead be rested, and we’d be concerned about how many Dutch Liverpool and Ajax players were participating.

    Again, this loss left me despondent personally, but like AZ, I’m desperately trying to find the positives.

    1. Ten Hag has been and will be very good for Ajax. But he is limited and he showed his glaring limitations yesterday. There is a reason why he is at Ajax and not Dortmund, Bayern etc. Irony is that people like you and me can clearly understand that at 3-0 you just need to take the foot off the pedal and TRY to defend. We can also see that Dolberg is a pile of sh!t and Huntelaar is a warrior but somehow Ten Hag didn’t think so. To put the nail in the coffin , the last substitute Magallan that he brought on for de Beek slipped and allowed Moura to score. Every coach has his limits but Ten Hag chose the wrong game to display them and it cost dearly. I hope he stays but my respect for him is not the same. You eliminated Juve, Real with shining colors and you get humiliated 3-0 in 45 mins in Amsterdam by Spurs? Spurs for God’s sake.

      1. I agree with you generally, but I really think ten Hag is a rising star — Jan had a good article about him previously:


        Had Eriksen and Son not missed easy shots early on, the game could have been far different in the first half as well. Tottenham does have a lot of talent, even if they are not considered top level. Ajax’s defense is not strong, with the exception of de Ligt. I think ten Hag realized that was a match-up problem and tried to continue to attack (and continue to play Ajax’s own game) rather than drop back in a defensive shell like they did in London.

        I bet he thought that their lead would hold up. I think most of us did as well. But Tadic and Ziyech couldn’t convert at the end. The 5 minutes of injury time didn’t help obviously either.

        Huntelaar is not suited at this point to pressing game, so I imagine Dolberg was selected at the last minute for Neres because he was younger and more mobile, but he really didn’t contribute anything at all. So in hindsight, Huntelaar certainly would have been a better choice. In my view, Schone should have come off sooner as fresh reinforcements were needed in the midfield. But I absolutely share your frustration!

        1. JB, I have been so depressed that I just needed to blame someone for this tragedy. But I think I am coming to my senses and I believe I have found why this cruelty happened. At the beginning of 2nd half Ajax players realized how close they were to the impossible. What until that moment seemed like a fun game, all of a sudden became a giant problem. Instead of being underdogs they realized they were huge favorites. Panic settled in after the 1st Spurs goal as their invincibility wasn’t such anymore. Panic about “what if we lose it now when we are so close”. Legs started shaking, fatigue doubled, mistakes started happening. Leadership in the field was absent. They dragged the game to 95th and were just smelling the final and relaxed for half a second and that’s when tragedy struck. It is just human. Even though deLigt, de jong, de Beek, Ziyech, Blind seemed like invincible giants that nothing could deter them they turned human and returned down to earth. As deJong said it was a beautiful dream that ended very badly. That’s why I say Huntelaar would have kept them together and provided leadership on the field in the last 20 mins. The biggest travesty is that this team will be dismantled in the summer. I can’t fathom deLigt and deJong playing for a different club.
          One thing I am happy about is that I would have suffered 10 times more if I was in the stadium. Thankfully I walked away from the screen the last 15-20 mins. Like many times before it wasn’t meant to be.
          I will get drunk this weekend.

  26. The other thing to consider is that in reality, Ajax vastly overachieved.

    Who from Ajax would even be a rotation player on any of the other final four? Frenkie and de Ligt would certainly be possibilities. But anyone else? Van de Beek may become an excellent player, but wouldn’t play regularly in Liverpool’s, Barca’s or Tottenham’s midfield.

    The thing that made Ajax successful was the system, the coaching and the players’ relentless efforts and creativity. And that system gave us numerous opportunities to win the tie against Spurs. There is a reason that Tadic, Ziyech, etc. don’t play for those other clubs, and there’s a reason that they didn’t score when they had the opportunities to do so yesterday. They are just not quite clinical enough. We did enough to win as a team, but we had crucial individual break-downs in attack and defense, either due to fatigue or lack of quality, or both.

    For me, Blind was a major weak link yesterday. He didn’t bring anything in attack, defense or from a leadership standpoint. Schone is also too old / slow to play at the requisite pace and his drop off in energy was a big factor that allowed Tottenham back in the game. Dolberg was innocuous at best, but didn’t offer anything in the press, which was really his number one job once we had the lead.

    The immensely frustrating thing for me, however, is that Tottenham is just not all that good. We had this game under control. But Lucas Moura was the one player that we seemed unable to contend with and it cost us again, and again and again…

    1. Dude, Spurs were coming off a 5 game losing streak and always fall short in Premier League as they choke at key moments. Their best player has been out for weeks. Everybody makes fun of them. We kill Real and Juve and get done in the @ss by freaking Spurs. Unbelievable, just unbelievable. I can’t get over this. 2010 all over again except this time we were 3 goals ahead with 45 mins to go and somehow a fossil like Llorente becomes the godzilla that changes the game. Damn Ten Hag.

  27. Moving forward., how do you guys think this Ajax performance has Contributed to Oranje ?

    I mean , there are only 4 starters in the team that are Dutch, all the rest are non Dutch including non of the forwards ( Ziyech supposed to be unfortunately)

    I hope this will also motivate PSV , Feyenoord and the other top Eredivisie top clubs

    Yes I do hope ten hag will stay longer I don’t understand why every Ajax coach has such a short lifetime can anyone tell me ?

    Lastly , truly wish more Dutch players will be promoted to the first team which is the only way to improve Oranje

  28. It’s a shame Ajax threw away a 3-0 goal lead. It is above me how they couldn’t hold the score for only 45 minutes.

    Obviously Ajax did a fantastic UCL campaign but losing like last night is big punch in the nuts. (at least if felt like it).

    Now, these players will have to learn that when you are winning and there are only 2 minutes left to play you should waste some time, pass the ball rather than trying to kill the game.

    If only Ajax’s players would have played more intelligently they’d be in the final.

  29. Also, I believe Ten Hag made a huge mistake using Dolberg over Huntelaar who has plenty of experience in big games and has already scored 2 goals in last weekend’s Cup final. So Huntelaar has more experience and was full of confidence to shine.

    Also I believe he didn’t prepare his players well during half time to tell them to be smart and make Tottenham become desperate. Football nowadays is not only about playing beautiful football but also about knowing how to win.

    It is a pity but this year has been amazing for Dutch football and Dutch clubs will want to do what Ajax just did. This year’s UCL has been one of the best years in football with a lot of good games and players really working like warriors!.

    1. Just what I thought. I keep wondering what Ten Hag told his players at half time. I know Poch told his players to just go out there and make history. I guess Ten Hag just told his players to go ahead for the jugular. Let’s kill this game (even though the game was killed at 3-0).

  30. The heartbreak and the shock from yesterday match was too big and deep that I consider it the worst of my life since I started rooting for the Netherlands and Ajax since 1988!!! I am done once and for all really I made my big decision of not watching soccer anymore because it keeps getting more cruel and heartbreaking!!! But this heartbreak is way worse than the wc 2010 Iniesta goal in the extra time, this one is painful because this Ajax team played the most prettiest football I’ve ever watched!!!

    I cancelled all soccer apps and removed my soccer tv package and unfollowed all soccer news I follow on social media and unfollowed all the orange players I follow just because I don’t want to be reminded about the cruelty of yesterday game!!!

    1. Alaa, I am on the same boat. I hope pain fades away in a few days. I had no interest in this CL until Ajax played Real in Amsterdam. After that game I was suddenly sucked in and felt the happy kid from 1987-1988 again. This team to me was more like the 1987 team that won the UEFA cup with Cruyff at the helm. I have gone through so many disappointments with dutch teams that I had lost interest in cheering again since while. All of a sudden this Ajax comes in and wakes up old feelings and dreams only to be cruelly shattered. I can’t read any articles or comments as they all are so full of praise for Ajax and it makes it even harder. No words. I just pray that Liverpool wins so at least our dutch duo can enjoy success.
      Be well.

  31. From what I see alot of guys are over reacting. If you didnt see this coming after watching the first leg than I think you guys are just blowing the trumphet.being a dutch fan is one thing but not seeing the reality of fottball is another.

    I will go step by step. The first and formost question of how can they threw away a three goal cushion after leading 2-0 at HT. Simplest of answers, If a team like barcelona can bottle a three goal cushion and go on to loss then Ajax is nothing.last season as well vs roma. If you are seriously asking how than,any thing is possible in football, it not about what I want nor what you want or as simple as taking somebodys hand and making them cross the road it takes perseverance, hunger, determination and who believes it the most. After moura first goal, all this swang into Spurs favor. In football once you sniff it, you know whats coming next.everything changed after mouras first goal onwards.

    the spurs were in the same boat as ajax in the first leg. They came off a hectic week lossing to bournemouth, with injuries and suspensions but still they looked superior of the team even though ajax did manage to breach them once on the counter.spurs threw everything in the first leg to stretch the defense from the flanks especially but simply lacked the cutting edge but they still dominated the game.one of pochettino trumph card in first leg was definitely sissoko. He nullified the midfield and was like a wild bull raging out of the gate.this is one area where ajax dominated vs madrid (casimero), juventus ( pjanic) and bayern (klimmch) and piled on the counters from the middle resulting in goals.

    Once the midfield was nullified vs Spurs it was the flanks that was the only avenue and on one hand ajax lost neres on the other hand spurs hand son returning which set the redemption stage. Simple maths Spur were a better team because they kept the buffer minimal without their absentees while ajax coughed up without theirs

    Secondly the bench factor.Neres injury just exposed that depth factor very similar to what happened to mo salah in the final last season when ramos dragged him down injuring his shoulder. It was lallana who replaced him but had no impact at all similarly to dolberg who had just had returned from injuries.klopp did the same thing with mane, firmino, salah through out the season like what ten hag did with neres, tadic and ziyech and in the end injuries of set the balance and the continuity of the team. Look at them this time around when Mo salah was injured. Origi and shaqiri were in a decent form to replace him. You could blame ten hag for choices or substitution he made but in the end you cant say for a sure that huntelaar or anyone else for that matter would have made the difference.

    Lastly and very importantly and I have emphasized this alot. The package deal.The team that has the full package always wins. When it comes to final stages, the individual qualities of every SINGLE player matters and this is where the rise and fall is determined no matter what the situation is.
    There were no big names in spurs but if you look at starting 11 in the second leg. From.vertonghen, alderweireld , rose, sissoko, son , moura,alli,Tripper,ericksen.fromindividual player pespective they had it all,compared to ajax where in some position looked lethargic. Blind, schone, Dolberg. Again my prediction for Blind goes on , come crucial stages he is exposed big time. But still its not only him ,lot of analysts blamed him and de ligt for the dowmfall especially in thr second half as they failed to marshall the backline.I had spurs to win on my cards particularly with return of son. He is a play in form right now in epl and his pace was going to cause havoc which did. Note here no other team managed to this vs ajax mainly because of either their midfield were dominated ( de jong) or they played with inverted wing system. (Juventus)

    Nothing to be taken away from ajax.everybody should be proud of them for achieving this status plus securing direct CL spot.expectations were high after coming thus far but like I said the team with the full package will always win. Lookig forward for an epic final and london derby in europa final.

    The future for ajax looks brighter as ever. Most probably ten hag should do what klopp did after last season.address critical areas or positions which has players departing.odegaard could be good replacement for ziyech. I think talks are going on with real. Tadic could be around but they need another good back up striker with either huntelaar and dolberg offloaded. I think after looking at tadic success at ajax, other potential players playing in lower clubs might get tempted to play for ajax and in CL.Might need another winger if neres leaves.Eiting and gravenberch could be the missing link in the midfield. That Marin guy is also a talented midfield but for sure they will miss frenkie. Time for schone to go. Backline magallan has turned out to be a flopp. If they drag with blind, expect the same old outcome. Its also time for Schuurs and pierie to step up but I feel for CL they might need some experienced defenders.
    Mazaroui and tagliafico will be around.

      1. I agree on some points but not all of them.I refuse to accept Spurs were better than Real or Juve. I see them every weekend and they’re crap half the time. They were incredibly lucky to eliminate City. I remember in the second game they couldn’t even pass the midfield for entire periods, very poor. I said before anyone else, if deLigt is not caught out of position in the 1st goal we would be through. deLigt seemed like a Goliath until that moment when I realized he is just a 19yr old kid. A goal so early in 2nd half changes the game. Spurs would surely score but the later the better. As Jan says Ajax simply buckled, choked under the massive pressure. And luck was insanely against them during 2nd half. A little Mourinho in Ten Hag would have made wonders.

          1. Maybe playing at home in front of those fans wasn’t the best for them. They have shown that they don’t perform well in that arena. Last 4 games from Bayern onward they recorded 2 draws, 2 losses. But all this is just speculation. As long as the coach/club doesn’t come forward with some sort of either mea culpa or post mortem we will never know. I also never learned what was wrong with Neres. It was said he wasn’t match fit but what does that mean exactly?

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