It was a game which saw an Ajax-back and a heavily injured PSV keeper leave the field on a stretcher. One in which two centre forwards who saw this competition match as a stage for their first goal with their new employers in Amsterdam and Eindhoven. The sometimes bizarre, sometimes frenzied Ajax – PSV match (2-2) provided lots of food for though and discussion when it was over.
Meetings between Ajax and PSV are a guaranteed spectacular show, especially in the last seasons. Sometimes, they’ve been a strange show. Last season, during Ajax- PSV, the much discussed biting incident between Luis Suarez and Otman Bakkal occurred. In the last edition of PSV – Ajax, Nicolai Boilesen and Przemyslaw Tyton played bizarre roles – albeit unwillingly. Ajax’s left back exited the field after only fifteen minutes due to a hamstring injury. The young Danish player will most likely be side-lined for weeks. Vurnon Anita started as controlling midfielder, but continued the match on left defence. Eyong Enoh substituted as the new controller, while Theo Janssen took over as left half.
PSV goalie Tyton’s exit was painful – both figuratively and literally. After half an hour of play, the Polish player crashed hard with defender Timothy Derijck. A frightening fifteen minutes followed as Tyton lay motionless on the field. The many paramedics and doctors around him, among which Ajax club doctor Edwin Goedhart, feared the worst. After endless renewed attempts, the keeper was finally stabilised and taken out of the Philips Stadium on a stretcher. The first diagnosis was a heavy concussion. After a much needed break of fifteen minutes, substitute keeper Khalid Sinouh came in as a substitute for the unlucky Pole.
The fact that Ajax had a hesitant start to the match paled in comparison to the Tyton’s personal drama. Frank de Boer’s team had already gone down 1-0 in the second minute at the hands of Tim Matavz. After losing possession at midfield, PSV left back Erik Pieters was able to set up the free Matavz. Face to face with Kenneth Vermeer, the Slovenian scored his first goal for his new employer in Eindhoven. Incidentally, Matavz’s goal was the quickest one ever scored by a PSV player against Ajax in the Eredivisie.
“Too many people were in the wrong place at that moment. Going down so early in the match is obviously disappointing”, said Frank de Boer in retrospect. “We picked it up again after that and dominated for the rest of the first half. PSV had a tough time with Christian Eriksen, who played as a false right winger.”
In the first half’s extra time, Ajax got more of a grip on the game. PSV seemed shaken by the painful loss of Tyton. Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, playing from the right, took possession of the ball after Siem de Jong’s header, sending it beautifully over Sinouh: 1-1. Derk Boerrigter had the chance to bring the Amsterdammers to the lead in the first half, but the left winger shot into the side net. Ajax seemed to take over the momentum from PSV, but didn’t manage to push through. That also seemed to be the case when Gregory van der Wiel opened the second half with a shot which landed on Sinouh’s gloves. Once again, Ajax didn’t make good on a great opportunity. “At the end of the day, we had the most possession before the break, and we created the most opportunities. It’s a shame that it was 1-1 at the break”, continued De Boer.
It turns out that a debatable decision by referee Björn Kuiper quickly laid the foundation for the 2-1. The referee punished a Van der Wiel obstruction on Mertens severely by according a penalty to PSV. Giorginio Wijnaldum’s shot from the edge of the box was impeccable: 2-1. “I think Gregory blocked Mertens with his chest”, said De Boer, expressing his displeasure at Kuipers’ call. “I think that’s allowed, in the box. That means it should have been an indirect free kick.”
The Eindhoven team got a boost of renewed confidence after taking the lead again. Toby Alderweireld made a save at the goal line on an attempt by Mertens, who at times seemed unstoppable. Captain Jan Vertonghen blocked a dangerous shot from Derijck. After Vermeer prevented Matavz from scoring a second goal with a good save, Sinouh also made a save across the field on an Eriksen attempt. In this phase, it was the keepers who kept their respective teams in the game. But it must be said that Vermeer made more beautiful saves (on more difficult attempts) than his PSV opponent. De Boer: “After the first good opportunity from Gregory van der Wiel, we apparently had a black out. During that period, we could easily have gone down 4-1. Fortunately, it stayed 2-1 in that phase.”
As if this competition match wasn’t already strange enough, another centre forward scored his first goal for his new team. Fifteen minutes after coming in for Sigthórsson, Dmitry Bulykin made good on the pass on a silver platter from Van der Wiel.
“A fantastic goal, a true centre forward goal”, De Boer praised Bulykin’s goal. The Ajax coach also saw Vurnon Anita retire with an injury (bruise) in the closing phase.
There was no lack of excitement until the very end in this top match. A third, winning goal never came. PSV-Ajax remained without a winner. De Boer: “All in all, I can live with 2-2. I think we can be satisfied with the match as a whole.”