Ajax sinks through the ice in Berlin and is out of the Europa League

Ajax sinks through the ice in Berlin and is out of the Europa League
Berghuis and Álvarez balking

NOS Soccer

After PSV, Ajax also failed to survive the Europa League intermediate round. Visiting Union Berlin, the Amsterdammers lost 3-1. A week earlier it was 0-0 in the Johan Cruijff Arena.

The elimination is a slap in the face for Ajax, which had not yet lost under the leadership of John Heitinga. The focus can now definitely shift to the premier league and the KNVB Cup.

Heavy blow

That the cult club from East Berlin, currently in third place in the Bundesliga, would be a tough act to follow, was clear. Especially after the meeting in Amsterdam, where an uninspiring Ajax took on the tight organization of the Germans.

Halfway through the second half, a goal by former Heerenveen player Morten Thorsby was disallowed for hands after interference from VAR.

VAR also played an important role in the German capital, this time in the 1-0. Danilho Doekhi, excelling at Union, headed the ball onto the right arm of Calvin Bassey, who had been favored over Owen Wijndal.

Referee Ricardo de Burgos initially allowed play to continue, but was called to the side anyway. The ball still went to the spot, after which Robin Knoche passed Ajax goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli with some fortune.

Knoche celebrates his scored penalty kick with the home crowd

As in Amsterdam, Ajax had most of the ball possession, was a bit more threatening, but real goal attempts were almost non-existent in the first half hour. Only towards the end of the first half did chances and even goals appear.

First Mohammed Kudus saw the 1-1 from a rebound disallowed because he was offside when Steven Bergwijn shot. A few minutes later, Rulli fouled an effort by Josip Juranovic: 2-0.

The ever efficient Union Berlin was thus in a seat. And although shortly after the break Kudus worked a Bergwijn cross in with some luck, a few minutes later Doekhi headed a corner kick behind Rulli.

Mohammed Kudus works the 2-1 inside

For the Dutch defender, transferred from Vitesse last year, by now a familiar recipe, as evidenced by his four headed goals in the Bundesliga.

Kudus should have made it 3-2 after just over an hour of play, but pushed the ball wide. Just before that, Ajax claimed a penalty after an alleged foul on Davy Klaassen. The referee waved away the protests.

Chance Becker

In the closing stages, Heitinga’s formation had to take risks. A tying goal did not materialize, preventing the tension from returning. Rulli parried a shot by Sheraldo Becker. Edson Álvarez received his second yellow card and was dismissed.

Union Berlin thus cleverly reached the eighth finals of the Europa League and that led to frenzied joy in the atmospheric Stadion An der Alten Försterei..

Ajax is licking its wounds and will have to show a reaction Sunday on visit to Vitesse.

Kayleigh Williams