For Ajax there are still three prizes at the end of the season. The leader of the Eredivisie and eight-finalist of the Europa League secured a place in the final of the KNVB cup quite easily in the away match at sc Heerenveen (0-3). On April 18, Vitesse will be the opponent in De Kuip.
Heerenveen played the most important game since the cup final of 2009, coach Johnny Jansen told just before kick-off. The Frisian coach decided to wait for Ajax with many players around their own penalty area. He wanted to strike at Amsterdam’s loss of possession by launching the fast Mitchell van Bergen, among other things.
Heerenveen could hardly embarrass the leader of the Eredivisie with that way of fighting. The first more or less serious goal attempt by the home team was delayed until injury time of the first half. Siem de Jong shoved his old teammate Daley Blind in the back for a moment and shot over from a distance.
Ajax was already leading 0-1 at that time. Again Davy Klaassen opened the score. He headed in the 19th minute on a pass from Antony. Ajax had enough chances to double the score before half time. Antony and Klaassen, however, shot just over. A second goal by Klaassen was disallowed because the video referee saw that Dusan Tadic had made hands.
Trainer Erik ten Hag considered giving Oussama Idrissi and Sean Klaiber a basic place for the semi-final battle. In the end he opted for the strongest team available in his eyes. Ajax already eliminated FC Utrecht, AZ and PSV in the cup tournament. Then you also want to go to the final, said the coach from Haaksbergen.
In view of the busy schedule of the coming weeks, the Ajax coach decided to keep Daley Blind aside after the break. After an hour Klaassen was also allowed to leave. Klaiber and Mohammed Kudus were the replacements. Kudus earned a penalty on one of his first touches of the ball. He was knocked out by Pawel Bochniewicz, the Pole who also didn’t look so good at the 0-1. Tadic once again underlined that he rarely misses a penalty.
Van Bergen failed to make the semi-final a bit more exciting, only for goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg. The substitute Neres did hit goal a little later (0-3), when Tadic was already in the shower. Idrissi was allowed to replace him. In this way Ajax could still save quite a bit of strength.