ADO 3 v 2 Ajax
On Sunday ADO made history, a fantastic result saw them finally beat the Dutch giants of Ajax home and away for the first time in the same season. A packed stadium with 200 from The Hagueonline, plus a large contingent of Legia Warsaw supporters made the stadium most unwelcoming for the visitors. Also a great record of attendance at the stadium, as this game was the sixth in a row to sell out the home support areas, ADO Den Haag are the team to watch in the Eredivisie these days.
Before the kick-off, there was a one minute silence to remember those that lost their lives in the terrible events in Japan.
The game started with ADO taking the initiative and forcing Ajax on to the back foot. ADO were sensing a win right from the start. There were a few early encounters that looked promising from both teams, all of which lead to no real threat on breaking a nil nil deadlock.
Fifteen minutes in to the match the ADO supporters began to pick on and tease the rather chubby looking Ajax keeper, Jeroen Verhoeven: Every time he had to take a goal kick or a kick out of his hands, the crowd roared to a crescendo, as he made contact with the ball the shout of Pizza bellowed around the stadium. It was hilarious and the longer the game went on, the louder and louder it got. I later found out the reason behind the pizza chant. On Saturday night ADO supporters sent a van load of pizzas to Verhoeven’s house as a wind up. What great, fun supporters they are, superb story in my opinion.
In the twenty seventh minute ADO almost take the lead. Verhoek took a corner on the right and delivered the ball deep in to the Ajax penalty area. Immers leapt highest and powered a header goalwards, the keeper beaten, but, Vurnon Anita was guarding the post and superbly managed to head the ball off the line and to safety.
ADO got their heads up after the goal-line clearance and urged on by the home support piled forward again. Verhoek was charging down the right wing and crossed the ball; his cross was misdirected and should have been easily dealt with by Gregory van der Wiel. To van der Wiel’s horror, his attempted clearance was sliced and the ball went straight up. Bulykin reacted first and toe poked the ball forward. The ball looped out of the reach of Verhoeven and smacked against the crossbar. As the ball rebounded back in to play, Kubik came running into the penalty box from wide on the left. He was totally unmarked and set his sights on goal, his header was angled perfectly and even the slight deflection off the head of Toby Alderweireld could not save Ajax as the ball hit the back of the net, 1-0.
The first half sort of fizzled out to an end as both teams resorted to some long ball tactics in an effort to get a goal, both failing miserably with this style of play.
I can only assume that the half time team talk to the Ajax players was brutal, as from the start of the second half they swarmed all over ADO’s midfield and defence. There were times when it was looking desperate for ADO as they clung to their slender 1-0 lead. In the seventieth minute however they finally succumbed under the pressure.
Leeuwin gave away a free-kick on the left after a clumsy challenge on Ajax’s Miralem Sulejmani for which he received a yellow card. Christian Eriksen took a quick kick and rolled the ball into space. It seemed as from nowhere that Jan Vertonghen arrived and simply hit one of the most unstoppable shots I have ever seen, Coutinho and the ADO defence didn’t even see it go past them, an excellent strike, and 1-1.
The game then went completely crazy and full of action; you could not take your eyes off this game for a moment.
Seventy six minutes in and ADO reclaimed the lead. Verhoek took a free-kick out wide on the right. As the ball was floated in, Immers lost his marker and managed to control the ball with one right foot touch, before swivelling instantly and smashing the ball home left footed past an unsighted Verhoeven. As Immers turned away, he removed his shirt to celebrated, revealing the FC Den Haag tattoo across his back, which earned him a mandatory yellow card, but at that moment, nobody cared less. The noise was deafening.
In the eighty fifth minute ADO’s dreams of a win looked shattered as Ajax pulled the game back to level terms. Sulejmani took a corner kick on the right side of the pitch. His cross was driven in hard, only to be headed straight back out to him. A quick look up and a step inside and he floated the ball back in towards the penalty spot. Eriksen managed to divert the cross with the mildest of touches with his head, but it was enough for the ball to escape the reach of Coutinho and go to the back of the net, 2-2.
The excitement still didn’t end and ADO charged forward searching for that historic win and in the eighty seventh minute they got what the stadium was hoping for. A Verhoek corner on the right was met by the head of Kum, it was goal bound, only a fine reflex save by Verhoeven prevented the goal by forcing the ball away for another corner, this time on the left side. Verhoek floated the ball into the penalty area; the entire Ajax defence seemed to freeze. Derijck pulled clear and struck the ball towards goal; it was blocked and came back to him. Then a wild left footed swing saw the ball some how managed to beat the Ajax keeper and hit the back of the net. The stadium totally erupted in to scenes of delirium. Even some of the long time press photographers who follow ADO everywhere could not hide their happiness. It was a moment that ADO Den Haag had dreamt of for many years, 3-2.
As the ninety minutes came up, the assistant referee showed that there were to be an extra four minutes of injury time to be played. There was a look of disbelief on everyone’s faces as a torrent of whistles and boos echoed around the stadium. The ADO players got it dead right and just kept on playing the ball in to the left corner of the pitch forcing Ajax’s players to dive in and give away free-kicks and corners, all of which ate up precious time. Then referee Bjorn Kuipers blew the full-time whistle and the joyous scenes witnessed around the stadium were amazing; So much emotion on the faces of players and fans alike. The stadium rocked to Liberte’ and You’ll never walk alone. It was indeed a great day for ADO and their supporters.
ADO man of the match: Has to be Wesley Verhoek. The man must have yellow and green blood flowing through his veins. His performance was simply outstanding. All that was good about ADO came from his boots.
Attendance: 15,000, a sell out.