Ajax have lifted their first Eredivisie title in five years with a 4-1 away win over De Graafschap Doetinchem. The Amsterdam side have won the trophy a record-extending 34 times.
The title had been all but secured in Sunday’s round of games, when Ajax shook off their only challengers, holders PSV Eindhoven, by beating FC Utrecht 4-1 while PSV slipped to a surprise 1-0 loss at AZ Alkmaar. On the last day of the campaign, Ajax managed they stayed three points clear of their rivals, who won 3-1 at home to Heracles Almelo.
Massive celebrations will be held in Museumplein on Thursday afternoon at 4pm. All museums around the square will either close their doors or reduce their hours ahead of the festivities.
This has been a very successful season for manager Erik ten Hag and his players, both at home and in Europe. On 5 May, Ajax claimed the Dutch Cup by beating Willem II Tilburg 4-0. A few days later, they were only seconds away from earning a ticket to next month’s Champions League finals. Their European dreams were shattered in the 96th minute of the semi-final second leg against Tottenham in Amsterdam, when the Londoners scored the late goal they needed to go through under the away goal rule.
In the wake of that dramatic encounter, the international media were full of praise for both Tottenham and Ajax. The youthful Amsterdam side’s attacking game and technical skills drew admiration from various quarters. Key players were singled out for particular praise. Frenkie de Jong, David Neres, Matthijs de Ligt – their names are unlikely to feature in next year’s Ajax line-up. Fans fear a talent drain, with the highly-rated midfielder De Jong to join Barcelona on 1 July. Other players are expected to follow suit.
Ajax’s technical director Marc Overmars has already taken precautions, signing Romanian Standard Liège midfielder Răzvan Gabriel Marin, SC Heerenveen defender Kik Pierie and other young players to fill the void. The next Eredivisie season will see a different Ajax line-up, but their style of play and title chances are likely to remain the same.
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