Bergwijn and Ajax have reason to laugh after cup win at De Graafschap
Ajax has qualified for the semi-finals of the KNVB Cup tournament, just like PSV, Feyenoord and Spakenburg. On a visit to first division club De Graafschap, it was 0-3, partly due to a goal by Steven Bergwijn.
He came over from Tottenham Hotspur last summer for a whopping 31.25 million euros, making him the most expensive premier league player ever. Ajax fans couldn’t believe their luck, as did then coach Alfred Schreuder.
Born in Amsterdam, Bergwijn, a past player in Ajax’s youth training program, started off very nicely, including a hat trick against FC Groningen. Afterwards, he addressed the assembled media with a smile on his face.
As the season progressed, that smile gave way to chagrin. Bergwijn’s engine faltered, as did Ajax’s. At the end of January, during the game with FC Volendam (1-1), the bomb burst. Not only after his substitution, when the striker couldn’t control his emotions.
Also afterwards, as Bergwijn was told that Schreuder had lost his job. The Oranje international stayed, logically, but was still waiting for his first goal since Nov. 12 of last year.
In the quarter-finals of the KNVB Cup, Bergwijn finally scored again. On 26 minutes at De Vijverberg, he pulled in from the left and then found the far corner with his right. A redemption and relief all in one.
The 0-1 was made earlier in deft fashion by Mexican right-back Jorge Sánchez, normally substitute, as were Remko Pasveer, Florian Grillitsch and Brian Brobbey, among others. They too had been given a starting spot by coach John Heitinga, as had newly 16-year-old Jorrel Hato.
De Graafschap, without the injured ex-Ajacied Siem de Jong, were hoping for a stunt beforehand, but that was not for a moment. After Bergwijn’s 0-2, Brobbey had to stop goalkeeper Hidde Jurjus. Goals by Jurriën Timber and the same Brobbey were rightly disallowed for offside.
That fate also befell Superboer Camiel Neghli just after halftime. Ajax escaped and left a lesser impression in the second half. Pasveer had to save on a Joel Valencia effort.
Brobbey can cheer
Towards the end of the cup battle, Brobbey headed on the post from a corner and Giovanni Korte missed an opportunity on the opposite side. Brobbey eventually determined the final score at 0-3.
Besides Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord, the amateurs of stunt team Spakenburg are also in the quiver on Saturday. A confrontation with a top club is guaranteed. Perhaps against the Ajax of Bergwijn, who wants and will have to make the difference again in the premier league.