On Sunday afternoon, ADO Den Haag played their biggest game of the season at home to Ajax,Amsterdam. ADO started the game in a very defensive formation, allowing Ajax to have the ball and defended the halfway line. Only the occasional break forward by Elson Hooi and Sheraldo Becker put the visitors under any sort of threat.
In the twelfth minute Ajax almost took the lead, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar forcing ADO keeper Robert Zwinkels into a great save, the first of many for ADO’s number one. Ajax continued to be a threat, ADO holding firm.
Nasser El Khayati had ADO’s best chance of the half, he broke free, twisted in and out before firing just wide of the target, good effort and it lifted the supporters.
In the twenty eighth minute and after much pressure Ajax took the lead. Aaron Meijers gave away a free-kick just outside the area, Hakim Ziyech crossed the ball on to the head of Joël Veltman and his header went into the far corner, 0-1.
Just four minutes after the goal, Ajax almost doubled their lead, Huntelaar, fortunately for ADO, couldn’t sort his feet out to finish the move. All in all the first half was a very boring affair, it even killed most of the atmosphere off within the stadium.
The second half was thankfully totally different. Changes were made by ADO early in the half, but Ajax almost made it 0-2, when a deflected shot by de Jong hit the bar. The introductions of Erik Falkenburg and Ricardo Kisha really triggered a change in ADO, turning them into a hard working, attacking team.
In the sixty fifth minute Falkenburg saw an effort hit the crossbar. ADO were pushing forward now, hard and fast. Meijers was getting himself wide down the left wing. Meijers interactions with the substitutes paid off in the seventy first minute. Neat passing ended with a wayward cross by Meijers, ball looked to be going out, Becker didn’t give up. He hooked the ball back just in time, the ball fell to Bjørn Johnsen, back to goal, he turned his marker before slamming the ball home inside the near post, 1-1.
The final fifteen minutes were not for the faint hearted, First the influential Kishna was carried off on a stretcher, he was in a lot of pain, hopefully not as bad as it looked. Ajax knew they had a game on their hands now. First Lasse Schone saw a deflected shot hit ADO’s bar.
The game now end to end was fantastic viewing. Falkenburg had the goal at his mercy when a cross found him in space, sadly the contact was not good enough and the ball went wide. Straight to the other end of the pitch, Zwinkels pulled off a stunning close range save, tipping the ball over the bar.
The referee, Bas Nijhuis added four minutes of injury time. It was a scary period for ADO. First a mad scramble to keep the Amsterdammers at bay, defenders and keeper throwing themselves like crazy to block Ajax efforts. In the final seconds Zwinkels again had to pull of another world class save, full stretch to push the ball around the post. Final whistle, phew!!
A great point for ADO, staff and fans were ecstatic as the players did their lap of honour. An enjoyable day for all concerned with the club.
ADO Den Haag’s next home game is on Saturday 23rd September at 20:45 against Sparta Rotterdam. A club card is not needed for this game. Just take a form of photo ID for each person wanting a ticket to the stadium ticket window on the night of the game.
Text & photos by Neal McClimon of ADOforExpats.com