Kudus gets Ajax into last eight

Setting the scene

Ajax have won the KNVB cup 20 times. Their opponents tonight: only three. FC Twente last won the cup in 2011, around the same time Edwin Van Der Sar was given his retirement testimonial.

Twente had a point to prove and for majority of the game, they did just that. You could argue they deserved victory for large parts and had their hands on the neck of Ajax (Casemiro style).

The game

Jurrien Timber made an awful pass to Edson Alvarez on the halfway line. FC Twente poached the ball mid-sequence with a fantastic press. It took a great recovery from Timber to stop Virgil Misidjan finishing a venomous three-on-one counter attack.

It was deja-vu for Ajax in the 21st minute but this time it was Edson Alvarez. He was dribbling out of the box before a FC Twente press instigated another counter attack.

Sloppy play was the order of the day for the Ajax back line. They gave away possession in critical areas and allowed FC Twente to dictate tempo during the first half.

A scuffle broke out in the 28th minute due to a needless tackle before yellow cards were handed out to both team number eights, Kenneth Taylor and Ramiz Zerrouki.

FC Twente launched a counter attack in the 53rd minute where a neat pass found Virgil Misidjan who was pulling defenders out of position before forcing a fantastic low-dive save from Onana.

The broadcast camera panned on Rons Jans. He had a cheeky grin plastered between his cheeks. Why not? His side kept Ajax largely quiet for the first half and were producing a string of great chances from the start of the second.

In the 65th minute, Owen Wijndal made the most of a loose pass from a Twente player and served up a brilliant cross from left flank which was finished with an audacious overhead kick sending the ball inches over.

Ajax cranked up the gears later in the second half. They stayed patient and kept knocking on the Twente door with sustained possession in the final third.

The broadcast camera panned on Rons Jans. Again. This time he possessed a slight expression of worry. Ajax were looking good. The passing was crisper and possession was held for longer patterns.

Remember the name

Mohammed Kudus. Remember the name. It took a sexy spell of passing inside Twente’s box before finding the man. Kudus dribbled past his marker and sliced the ball past Twente keeper Lars Unnerstall to register his 13th goal of the season. Kudus has three goals and one assist in his last four games for Ajax.

Kudus got the goal because of fantastic movement inside the box. Ajax kept the ball and moved it quickly around the penalty area but it was Kudus who was hovering around the box before making the run to get away from his marker.

He is a revelation who could be instrumental in getting Ajax to the final and adding silverware to John Heitinga’s reign. But question remains, will Ajax be able to keep him over the Summer?