AZ knock Ajax out of KNVB Cup

Published on 20 januari 12, 00:00
AMSTERDAM- AZ booked a place in the quarter finals of the KNVB Cup after a 2-3 win over Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA on Thursday afternoon, thanks to goals from Maarten Martens, Charlison Benschop and Rasmus Elm. Gertjan Verbeek´s team recorded their first win over Ajax in Amsterdam since 1981.

Around 20.000 children in the stands, who created a lot of noise, saw Ajax take an early lead. Brett Holman lost possession of the ball after ten minutes and Christian Eriksen´s cross found Siem de Jong, who slotted home the first goal of the match: 1-0.


AZ were seeing a lot of the ball but lacked sharpness in front of goal. Benschop, who led AZ´s attack at the expense of Altidore, sent a shot straight at goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen and headed just wide of the post minutes later, while Holman hit the post. In the 24th minute, AZ were rewarded for their dominance when Benschop played in Martens, who unleashed an unstoppable right-footed shot: 1-1. They took the lead after 32 minutes. Elm, who put in another outstanding display, played a great through ball into the path of Benschop, who one-on-one with Cillessen, kept his composure and curled the ball past the keeper: 1-2. Ajax were back on level terms ten minutes before half-time. Niklas Moisander committed a seemingly unnecessary foul and when Esteban could not gather Eriksen´s free kick, De Jong tapped home the equaliser from close range: 2-2.


AZ controlled the game after the break and the home side failed to create any meaningful chance. Gertjan Verbeek´s team regained the lead in the 55th minute when Elm converted from the penalty spot after a shot from Beerens had struck the hand of Alderweireld: 2-3.


With their new-look midfield, Adam Maher, Elm and Martens, fully in control, AZ were in the driving seat and comfortably held on to earn an historic 2-3 win over Ajax. They will play host in the quarter-finals to amateur side GVVV at the AFAS Stadion on Wednesday, 1st February.

Verbeek: ‘We deserved to win’

“I think the children have seen an entertaining game”, said Verbeek at the post-match conference. We put in a high tempo first-half performance in an even game with two attacking sides. When we had regained the lead, Ajax sent men forward, but we did not take advantage of the space behind their defence. But compliments to the team for a well-deserved victory.”


Ajax – AZ 2-3 (2-2)

KNVB Cup round of 16

Ajax line-up: Jasper Cillessen; Ruben Ligeon, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Vurnon Anita; Christian Eriksen, Eyong Enoh, Theo Janssen (70. Aras Özbiliz); Miralem Sulejmani, Siem de Jong (83. Dmitry Bulykin), Ismaïl Aissati.
AZ line-up: Esteban; Etiënne Reijnen, Niklas Moisander, Nick Viergever, Simon Poulsen; Adam Maher, Rasmus Elm (84. Dirk Marcellis), Maarten Martens; Roy Beerens, Charlison Benschop (78. Jozy Altidore), Brett Holman (78. Celso Ortiz).

Goals: 10. De Jong 1-0, 24. Martens 1-1, 32. Benschop 1-2, 37. De Jong 2-2, 55. Elm (pen.) 2-3.
Booked: Moisander, Holman (AZ).
Sent off: -
Referee: Pol van Boekel
Attendance: 22.800