On Sunday afternoon ADO Den Haag started the second half of their season with a home game against their fiercest rivals, Ajax of Amsterdam. The packed stadium created an amazing amount of noise and colour as the teams came onto the field of play. Again no away supporters allowed at this game, so you could only imagine how much louder it would have been if Ajax fans were allowed into the stadium.
Sadly the game was a letdown, lacking excitement and goal mouth action. Ajax started by far the stronger team, yet despite their possession they could not get any clear sites on goal. ADO’s biggest threat at upsetting the visitors was the return of Wilfried Kanon afterce his long absence, he was living up to his name of “BOOM BOOM Cannon” as he regularly bulldozed his way down the left flank.
Ajax were not getting shots on target, only two efforts that flew high and wide or Martin Hansen’s goal. However in the twenty first minute they did break the dead lock. Joel Veltman played a long ball forward, finding Amin Younes. He got by Vito Wormgoor before a neat two touch juggle, right foot pull back, left foot slide into the net, quality finish, 0-1.
The rest of the first half went by with ADO pushing forward a bit more, but with no direct shot on target and Ajax sitting back, the teams went into the break after not providing much in the way of entertainment for the fans in a cold Kyocera stadium.
The opening fifteen minutes did not do much to lift the thrill factor for supporters as both teams seemed to be devoid of any attacking aspiration.
The biggest talking point of the game, playing wise, occured in the fifty sixth minute. A high ball played forward saw Ruben Schaken win an aerial battle with Nemanja Gudelj. The ball came free and it was a race to the ball between Schaken and the Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen. The keeper got there fractionally before the ADO forward tried to strike the ball, accidently resulting in the keeper getting the shin of Schaken right in the face. There was no intent, but it left the goalkeeper with a bloody nose, bruised eye and maybe later needing some dental work.
The five minutes of treatment the keeper received allowed ADO to rethink the game plan. Tommie Beugelsdijk was pushed forward, almost as a full-time extra forward, even seen out wide on the left crossing balls into the danger area. This extra responsibility put ADO’s cult hero into battle mode which in turn lifted the team, leading by example.
The Haagse Kwartiertje with fifteen minutes left to play was loud and proud. ADO getting Ajax to defend for long periods of time. In the eightieth minute ADO could have and should have got themselves level. A long throw from the right saw Mike Havenaar leap between two defenders, they fell aside as the ball fell again, this time the leading scorer was totally free of markers and under no pressure. Everybody expected a powerful header into one of the corners, yet, his header went softly into the arms of Cillessen. A huge opportunity wasted.
The game then really came to life in the five minutes of added time. Hansen forced into making a superb save to keep ADO in the hunt for a point. ADO themselves having three chances on goal, each getting lower as they sailed over the crossbar from Edouard Duplan, Kevin Jansen and Timothy Derijck.
At the final whistle everybody knew ADO had come so close to getting a point. So the fans began to applaud the players who looked to be tempted to leave the pitch directly. After the game people were saying a point today would have been a great bonus, but with two very winable games coming up next against opposition below them, ADO can now concentrate on getting higher up the league standings.