Well, I REALLY needed to take a day extra before writing this… It was such a rollercoaster with all these amazing emotions floating through the body… From sheer exuberance (first half) to fear, horror, terror, disbelief in the second half and complete and utter shock at the final whistle.
What was I watching?
How was this possible. Was Tottenham so amazing? Were they so good? Did we just see another English club smashing it, like
Wijnaldum Liverpool smashed Barca?
You know what? NO!
Ajax didn’t lose against Spurs. They lost against Ajax. Ajax was Ajax toughest opponent.
And the boys who became men suddenly looked like boys again.
I was distraught. I was disappointed. And I was angry.
Not at Moura. Not at Pochetino. I was angry at Tadic. At Ziyech. At Ten Hag. Schone and Onana.
What on Earth were they thinking???
I will not give you a clear match report or anything. Forget about that.
Ok, I will. But briefly. Open Game. End to End. Ajax on the counter, Tadic forcing a corner. Great block (and terrible defending Spurs) and De Ligt heads 1-0. Great.
Spurs pushing probing shooting etc but another break got Ziyech in position. Magnificent left foot. Magnificent goal: 2-0.
Second half, yadda yadda Llorente yadda yadda long balls yadda yadda route 1 yadda yadda fight football.
So in the second half, Ajax has free kick. Blind and De Ligt move up. The rest defence looks vulnerable. Ball is turnaround, long ball is passed on to Moura. Schone doesn’t have the speed. Onana decides to stay in his goal. Easy goal. 2-1
Hmm… Was it really necessary to push so many players forward? For a free kick with a bad angle to get a real goal scoring opportunity?
Ajax is rattled and 2 mins later, their whole defence is split apart, with two Spurs players free in the 6 yard box. Onana saves miraculously but Schone decides to kick the ball away from Onana’s hands, giving Moura another opportunity. The Brazilian has 5 (!!) deft touches in the box before he buries it. WHAT? 2-2
And then: Ajax starts to play again, and Ziyech gets opportunities, Tadic too. But to no avail.
So with 2 minutes on the clock in extra time. 2 minutes! TWO!! Tadic decides to go for glory and the top corner. Curling it in. But the ball is wide and high. Lloris bring the ball back into the field and with a hail mary, the ball ends up with the Brazilian yet again. De Ligt is wrong footed and out of balance, he can’t block the shot. Tagliafico should have put his body on the line but stayed on his fee: 2-3.
End.Of.Story. End.of.Dream. What a bloody waste, what a missed opportunity.
Even when Ajax mourns the loss, their positioning is still great!
And YES: of course, reaching the semis was great. And yes, we all love these guys. And yes, they entertained us to the hilt. And yes, De Ligt, Ziyech, Neres, Van de Beek, Mazraoui, they will all get fat deals somewhere and some stage. Sure.
But they could and should have reached the finals and they can only blame themselves.
Erik ten Hag might have done better. Experienced Tadic and Blind should have managed the game better. Ziyech should have scored. Onana should have raced out of his area with that first Spurs goal. All true. But at the end of the day, Ajax gave it away.
And now, Ajax has two league games to win. And they will have to win them, otherwise their season – despite the national cup – will be a big disappointment in terms of silverware.
Sadly, this Ajax will not win a Champions League anytime soon. It’s likely that De Ligt and De Jong and Ziyech will leave. I do have faith in Eijting, I think he is a great player. He will take Frenkie’s spot I think, but there will not a second De Ligt of course.
Thanks for the memories Ajax, but really… you did end up breaking our hearts…