Goals from the forwards saw Frank de Boer's charges bag three vital points and maintain pressure on the table-toppersAjax recorded a crucial 2-0 victory over Eredivisie title rivals PSV on Sunday, with a Siem de Jong penalty wrapping up the points after Ismail Aisatti had opened the scoring.
The buzzing atmosphere at the Amsterdam Arena did little to liven a tepid beginning to the game, with neither side getting a real sight of goal in the opening 45 minutes. The second half was in stark contrast to the first however, with goals from the Dutchmen ultimately making the difference.
The Amsterdam outfit entered the tie in fine form, having recorded wins in their last seven outings. Meanwhile, the visitors were recovering from a slump that had seen them lose footing in the title race, having recorded two solid victories over Heerenveen in the space of 3 days.
Ajax proved sterner opposition however, with the hosts dictating proceedings in the opening stages. The reigning champions lacked the incisiveness to break down an organised PSV side however, while solid defending from Van Rhijn and Alderweireld at the other end kept the visitors’ danger men at bay.
The Amsterdam outfit had little to show for their dominance however, with Eriksen’s set piece deliveries all failing to find their target. The Dane opted to try his luck from range 32 minutes in, but his free kick hammered into the wall. Aisatti registered the first attempt on goal seven minutes later, but his shot lacked the power to trouble Tyton.
PSV drew the first save from Vermeer minutes after the break, with the Dutchman having to charge off his line to deny Matavz. The hosts responded immediately, with offensive fulcrum Eriksen seeing a curling effort fly agonisingly wide. The youngster saw another shot miss the target moments later, after Van Rhijn had done well to tee up the midfielder.
Ajax would eventually be rewarded for their attacking intentions, with Aissati spectacularly opening the scoring in the 56th minute. The winger sent what appeared to be a cross into the box from the left side, but rather than finding the head of a team-mate the ball curled unstoppably into the top corner.
And the hosts’ offensive momentum would carry them straight to a second, with De Jong doubling his side’s lead from the spot in the 62nd minute. Marcelo clumsily brought down Aisatti in the area, and the deputy forward calmly stepped up to send Tyton the wrong way.
The deficit acted as a catalyst for PSV, with the visitors increasing the pressure on the Ajax. The Amsterdam outfit was rarely truly troubled however, doing well to channel the danger out wide and isolate lone striker Matavz. The hosts appeared reluctant to venture forward in numbers, entrusting substitutes Ebicillio and Bulykin with their side’s offensive duties.
The crucial victory sees Ajax close the gap with table-toppers AZ to just one point, while PSV hold on to fourth spot on goal difference alone. The reigning champions will look to continue their good run of form when they host Heracles next weekend, while today’s visitors will have to dispose of VVV if they are to retain any hopes of claiming their first league title since 2008.