PSV wins after penalty kicks over Ajax in cup final full of irritations and riots
PSV won the KNVB Cup for the 11th time after a tough and regularly exasperating battle with Ajax at De Kuip. The Eindhoven natives were the strongest in the penalty shootout series: 3-2. After regular playing time and extension, the score was 1-1.
There has been much talk in recent weeks about the misbehavior of soccer supporters. Given recent experiences, the fear of a thrown cup on the field disrupting the match was well-founded. But this time especially the players showed their bad side.
High level of unsportsmanship
In the first half, the riots were more numerous than the fine actions. Annoying was how every so often there was whining, pushing, pulling and shouting. The level of unsportsmanship was high.
Trainers John Heitinga and Ruud van Nistelrooij did not set a good example with grumbling at the refereeing, and that was especially true for captains Dusan Tadic and Luuk de Jong, who were regularly at the center of incidents. Eleven cards in all were handed out by referee Dennis Higler.
Between all the rebounds and fouls, the level was pathetic. A splitting pass from Joey Veerman through Jordan Teze led to a near chance for Luuk de Jong, and after a mistake by Davy Klaassen, Ajax goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli saved on a Guus Til effort.
More soccer and goals
A few minutes before halftime, Jarrad Branthwaite headed wide from a Veerman free kick. In the ensuing counterattack, André Ramalho worked Brian Brobbey to the ground, but Steven Bergwijn was able to get through and, via Branthwaite’s leg, the ex-PSV player’s effort disappeared into the goal and Ajax took the lead.
The atmosphere did not improve in the second half, although there was a bit more football. A goal by Ramalho was disallowed for offside and a flowing Ajax counter ended with a ball on the post by Brobbey (with Bergwijn already cheering and forgetting to exploit the rebound). More chances followed for Ajax, with shots by Tadic and Bergwijn over the goal.
With substitutes Thorgan Hazard and Anwar El Ghazi, PSV gained new wings and new impetus after an hour of play. Xavi Simons moved to midfield and was at the base of the equalizer with an action. On a pass from the shared top scorer of the premier league, Hazard shot the 1-1.
Both teams then had chances to take the lead. The tireless Brobbey shot a meter wide and Ajax goalkeeper Rulli saved on a Simons effort. No more goals were scored and an extension became necessary.
Five missed penalties
A highlight of the extension was the image of Ajax attacker Calvin Bassey offering Luuk de Jong help with a moment of cramp. A rare moment of sportsmanship. The PSV captain actually thanked his opponent with a hand.
PSV’s tastemaker Simons dropped out in the extension, tired from the countless meters he had made and hurt by multiple fouls. He received a big hug from Van Nistelrooij as he left the field. After the first half of the extension, PSV also had to continue without the tired Luuk de Jong.
For Ajax, too, the wear and tear took its toll and Klaassen and Bergwijn did not make it to the end. There were no more chances and the fierce battle for the KNVB Cup was decided by a penalty shootout. In that, PSV was the luckiest.
After misses by Brian Brobbey (over), André Ramalho (Rulli save), Jurriën Timber (crossbar) and Ibrahim Sangaré (post), PSV goalkeeper Joël Drommel smartly stood by a penalty kick straight through the middle by Edson Álvarez, and Fábio Silva fired in the decisive penalty.