Six points behind Ajax ‘quite a lot’, but Heitinga won’t give up
Whether the title battle is decided in the premier league ? Ajacied Steven Berghuis won’t say. “But that it will become more difficult is one thing that is certain.”
Feyenoord fought back from a deficit for the umpteenth time this season, this time at the Johan Cruijff Arena, winning 3-2 in Amsterdam through a late goal by Lutsharel Geertruida. The gap between the leaders and Ajax is now six points.
“This one does arrive,” Ajax coach John Heitinga said after the match. But is it also over? “No, absolutely not. I am the last one who will give up. There are enough matches, enough points to share, until the end we will fight. We will have to hunt again. And that is the reality.”
Heitinga after home defeat against Feyenoord: ‘This one does arrive’
“Six points is a lot. Especially when you see Feyenoord play,” said Berghuis, who seemed resigned to the defeat afterwards. “You also have to give credit to Feyenoord. They got it right, so congratulations.”
The defeat comes “rock hard” to the former Feyenoord player. “We had a very good feeling about this match. In phases it was also good, but the result stands.” As the cause, the midfielder points to the beginning of the second half. “We couldn’t muster the pressure anymore.”
Berghuis: “And such a 2-2 (seven minutes after halftime, ed.) gives fuel to Feyenoord, and to us less. It almost wasn’t there anymore, in the second half, despite Kudus’ super chance for 3-2.”
Berghuis’ composure after defeat: ‘You also have to give credit to Feyenoord’
Heitinga, who beforehand was still confidently proclaiming that Ajax were the favorites for victory in Amsterdam, also looks at the quarter of an hour after halftime. “Especially the beginning of the second half, we have to recognize that we have to go through. Then you have to go full steam ahead, from the back and midfield.”
Heitinga believes Ajax was “the superior side in everything” in the first half. But also, “The second half you see that we can’t get a grip on it. Then the 2-2 falls and then it can fall both ways.”
“We can bring in all kinds of things, but we lost,” Heitinga said. By those “things,” he is referring to a foul by Feyenoord back Quilindschy Hartman, for which referee Danny Makkelie did not give a second yellow card.
Heitinga: “I think there were a number of moments. Sometimes it’s to your advantage, sometimes to your disadvantage. But today you could have cancelled VAR in any case.”
Watch Makkelie’s explanation of why he decided not to give a card below:
Referee Makkelie explains: ‘Second foul Hartman was not a yellow card’
Makkelie did not draw a second yellow, Kudus missed a huge chance for the 3-2, but goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther had a handsome save on his hands.
After Geertruida’s late winning goal, there was dead silence in the Johan Cruijff Arena. The national title was a whole lot further out of sight for Ajax.