Prize for SchmidtPSV has won the KNVB Cup for the first time since 2012. Shortly before half-time, Noussair Mazraoui seemed to make the 0-2 on behalf of Ajax, but just like Eran Zahavi and then Davy Klaassen, he scored a goal after an offside moment. With goals from Erick Gutiérrez and Cody Gakpo, PSV completely turned the final around in the first five minutes after the break.
An atmospheric Kuip was the backdrop for the 103rd KNVB Cup final. PSV started the game strongly and put Ajax under pressure in the initial phase, after Roger Schmidt’s team had played a tough game against Leicester City (1-2 defeat) on Thursday evening. A shot from Cody Gakpo followed, but after about ten minutes PSV even seemed to take the lead against the team from Amsterdam. Eran Zahavi was sent deep by Mario Götze and the striker rounded off, but he did so in an offside position.
The joy of the PSV fans was therefore short-lived. After the first fifteen minutes, Ajax became stronger. PSV found it difficult to put the pressure on and did not create any more opportunities. After 23 minutes, the first Ajax chance was immediately converted into a goal. A combination between Ryan Gravenberch and Dusan Tadic eventually ended up with the former, who then hit the far corner from the edge of the sixteen: 0-1.
The game then went back and forth a bit, with neither team creating any great chances. Once Ajax was close to a second goal, in fact: Noussair Mazraoui hit just before half-time. But just before the right back received the ball, Tadic was already offside: the goal was therefore disallowed.
Dream start PSV after rest
After the break, PSV flew out of the starting blocks. Erick ‘Guti’ Gutiérrez soon took care of the 1-1 from a free kick. The Mexican midfielder reacted alertly to a ball that was headed through. A few seconds later, the PSV fans were able to cheer even harder. Captain Cody Gakpo dribbled halfway across the field, pulled in and hit the short corner: 2-1.
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After that, the game continued at breakneck speed. Ajax soon seemed to equalize again when Klaasen scored, but again the VAR intervened. Brian Brobbey was sidelined just before that with his heel. Breathe a sigh of relief for PSV, and they could do it again within a minute, when Tadic hit the post hard.
PSV then remained somewhat easy on its feet. Ajax occasionally came out dangerous – a predicament was cleverly saved by Mvogo – but the team from Amsterdam was too often sloppy with the ball. PSV, on the other hand, was given the necessary space on the counter, as substitutes Yorbe Vertessen and Armindo Bruma tried to take advantage of this. The lightning-fast Portuguese missed no fewer than three great chances to make it 3-1, but in the end PSV held out and won this thrilling final.
In the 85th minute, Mohamed Ihattaren came in for Steven Berghuis for his debut in Ajax 1. The fallen talent tried to be decisive, but PSV also managed to survive in the hectic final phase. With that, it not only seized the tenth KNVB Cup in club history, the number two in the Eredivisie also dealt Ajax a sledgehammer in the battle for the title. In it, the leader defends a lead of four points, but the points have been raked in for two months with pain and effort.
Where Ten Hag can now whistle to his third double with Ajax, he will have to pull out all the stops with his struggling team to keep PSV coach Roger Schmidt off the national treble when he retires. There are still five rounds to go in the Eredivisie. PSV will return to the Kuip on Sunday 8 May for the match against Feyenoord.
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