Ajax survive 5-4 goal fest to knock out Utrecht

Everyone and their mum is talking about Ajax and the style of play. Despite the early Champions League exit, the wind is in their sales. The football is attacking and easy on the eye as shown in the four-nil victory over PEC.

However, the focus now turned to the KNVB cup. FC Utrecht did not make it easy in Amsterdam. Tadic saved the day with an absolute screamer. He opened the scoring and closed the scoring. You might as well just end the review there.

FC Utrecht are mid-table in the Eredivisie and showed us not to take them lightly – especially after putting four past FC Dordrecht.

The game

Left-back Tagliofico gave the ball away in the 1st minute deep in the Ajax half after a Ultrecht press, to allow Ultrecht striker Mahi a tight-angle precision shot to deal the first blow.

The camera pans to Ten Hag – arms folded and brewing with distain.

In the 8th minute, Dusan Tadic opens the scoring for Ajax by drilling a free kick from 40 yards which meets a Utrecht head from the wall, deflecting into the corner of the goal. One nil.

Unlucky for Utrecht but it wasn’t long before they found themselves on the end of a fantastic chance. An Ajax midfielder gave the ball away in a dangerous position, allowing Kerk to get the ball and start a counter-attack. The forward soon found himself one-one-one with Scherpen only to be denied with a save.

That was a really good chance to level and Kerk was sat on the floor looking dub-founded. He only had himself to blame.

Ajax gave the ball away twice from passing out from the back. This could have lead to a goal and the fans probably wish this doesn’t amount to anything in the Europa League. Ten Hag was in camera shot profusely taking notes straight after.

In the 30th minute, a bizarre occurrence took place including Anthony and the opposition keeper and centre-back. Utrecht defender St. Jago was running back to allow the keeper to collect. Anthony was running behind him to try to repossess. Anthony shouldered St. Jago into the keeper where St.Jago’s foot followed-through into the keeper’s face and floored him. Paes had to come off after taking the knock.

Labyad tapped in the second goal just before half time and celebrated in front of the empty stands of the Johan Cruyff Arena. Ajax went into the half time break with tails wagging.

The lead did not last long after Mahi tapped in his second goal. You could make an argument that the ball went out of play in the build-up but this sequence started because of a poor touch from a member of the Ajax back line.

At this point, tensions rise. Imagine Ajax being knocked out of the KNVB cup this early?!

In the 54th minute, Anthony’s shot from the right flank gets deflected in by an Utrecht defender. The wind is back baby. Sales are blowing. Three-two.

Anthony engages in a high-octane handshake celebration with another Ajax teammate where you hope to god they don’t add it on the next FIFA game.

Van de Streek taps it in from a bit of pin-ball in the Ajax box to draw level. Pandemonium. Ten Hag looks mad. Rightfully so.

Alvarez misses an easy header in the 58th minute to give Ajax the lead from a scrumptious cross into the middle of the box.

Sylla made it four-three for Utrecht in the 70th minute. Players were not marked properly in the defensive third which allowed Sylla a shot on goal which was blocked by Scherpen only for Sylla to get another shot from the same spot again. Poor defending and keeping. Ajax are all over the place and Utrecht are on their way to a shocking knock out blow.

The game took another twist. A quick counter-attack allows Ladyad to make it four apiece. Game on.

Then out of nowhere.

Tadic fires in a audacious shot outside the box, clipping the cross bar, thundering into the back net and ending the hopes of FC Utrecht. You can only imagine what the roar of the crowd would be like if there was one.


A reflection is needed by Erik on how the defence looked so fragile. Conceding four goals to a mid-table Eredivisie team is not an easy thing to do.

You could put it down to team rotation and giving key players a rest. However, there is no excuse for the poor display put on by the defence and lack of communication while passing out the back.