Ajax national champion after 1-4 victory at De Graafschap

Ajax is the Dutch national champion for the 34th time after 1-4 victory at De Graafschap on Wednesday evening. After the second to last round of the championship, Ajax was already ahead of PSV with three points and fourteen goals. The national championship win had already been unofficially celebrated by Ajax fans in Amsterdam after the second to last round against FC Utrecht (4-1), reports NOS.

Overall, Ajax was stronger than De Graafschap, but really took the lead in the 37th minute with a goal from Lasse Schone. De Graafschap scored a tying goal 3 minutes after, the only goal they would score in the game. A few minutes later, Nico Tagliafico scores, getting Ajax out of the tie by the end of the first half. Dusan Tadic scores twice at around 70 and 90 minutes and the team dominates the second half.

Ajax has won the title with 86 points, three more than PSV. However, Ajax had followed PSV for almost the entire season and only in April did it win the lead during the 29th round, reports RTL Nieuws.

Game reactions

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has told NOS he is proud of the 34th national title for Ajax, but even more proud of how the team handled themselves last season. He says, “This team has not only conquered the hearts of fans in Amsterdam, but those of the entire Netherlands and also Europe…I’m very proud of that.”

He continues, “What made the team so special? “The way of playing football, coupled with results. The ultimate satisfaction. That they fight for each other, but also play incredibly good football and pleasure. That is beautiful to see.”

Dutch footballer Theo Janssen tells RTL Nieuws this a “super season” for Ajax” with the Champions League semi-final and the win of the national title. He says, “After the winter break Ajax showed fantastic football. They have put Dutch football back on the map.”

David Endt, sports journalist and former Ajax team manager tells RTL Nieuws Donny van de Beek and Dusan Tadic were particularly strong this season. He says “Donny is a complete football player. He is not only technical, but also has a fighting spirit and good character. He used to be a bit too sweet, but now he has got a sharp character in a good way… Tadic was the big surprise of the season for me. I knew he could play football, but I didn’t expect that he could lead the group.”

34th national championship: Why is the number 34 special for Ajax?

The number 34 is a special number for Ajax players and fans. This is the number of Abdelhak Nouri who collapsed during a match in July 2017 and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia attack, which left him with severe and permanent brain damage.

NOS reports that Ajax players wore shirts with 34 on the back and a statue of Nouri on their sleeve to honor him.

Donny van de Beek who was close to Nouri says told NOS “I am very happy. This title is for him. I am happy for the entire club. Everyone craved this. We are proud. My first title and for many others too.”

Abdelhak Nouri’s father and brother will be present at the ceremony on Museumplein.

Celebrations

Hundreds of Ajax fans celebrated the national championship title at the Johan Cruijff Arena on Wednesday night with the team, reports AT5. The Ajax players were welcomed by their supporters with fireworks and lots of singing, after their long bus trip from De Graafschap. Several fans climbed the fences to try to get closer to the players and it took almost half an hour for the players to enter the arena.

An official ceremony will take place on Thursday 16 May on Museumplein. Tens of thousands of Ajax fans are expected to attend the celebration. Admission to the ceremony is free and will broadcast live on TV!

Museumplein opens at 1 p.m. and the ceremony will take place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. If you want food or drinks, bring your own! Alcoholic drinks are allowed for personal use, at around a six pack per person, but must be stored in plastic bottles, cups or cans.

The last time Ajax had a ceremony on Museumplein was in 2011 where riots and violence broke out. In the past years, after winning a title, Ajax is celebrated at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam-Zuidoost so this would be a special ceremony.

Featured image source: Wikimedia/Marie Thérèse Hébert & Jean Robert Thibault

Are you celebrating at Museumplein? Let us know in the comments, below!

Lara Silva
Lara Silva
Originally from Lisbon, Lara now lives as a Londener where she studies journalism. She enjoys writing about politics, news and culture. Her favorite hobbies include eating pizza, drinking portuguese beer and smashing the patriarchy.

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