PSV’s Thrilling Victory Secures Champions League Spot, Ajax Settles for Europa League
In a thrilling conclusion to the Eredivisie season, PSV Eindhoven secured their place in the Champions League with a nail-biting victory over AZ Alkmaar. The match, held at the AFAS stadium in Alkmaar, ended with a 2-1 scoreline in favor of PSV, thanks to a brace from Xavi Simons.
Meanwhile, Ajax suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of FC Twente in Enschede, which means they will be competing in the Europa League next season. The Amsterdam club needed a win and a PSV loss to secure the second place, but the day’s results did not go in their favor.
This was PSV’s first match of the season without their manager, Ruud van Nistelrooij, who resigned earlier in the week citing a lack of confidence from his players. However, the team showed no signs of faltering under pressure. Xavi Simons, who had expressed his gratitude to van Nistelrooij earlier in the week, was the star of the show, scoring both of PSV’s goals.
In the 84th minute, AZ managed to equalize through a penalty scored by Jesper Karlsson after Joey Veerman fouled Riechedly Bazoer. However, the drama was far from over. Anwar El Ghazi was sent off for PSV in the second minute of injury time, but Simons stepped up once again to score the winning goal for PSV. This was Simons’ 19th goal of the season, making him the joint top scorer of the Eredivisie season alongside Anastasios Douvikas of FC Utrecht.
Ajax’s defeat was a disappointing end to what will likely be interim manager John Heitinga’s last game in charge. Despite taking the lead through Dusan Tadic, Ajax couldn’t hold on, and FC Twente scored three goals courtesy of Manfred Uganda, Julio Pleguezelo, and ex-Ajax winger Vaclav Cerny.
Looking ahead to the next season, PSV will join the Champions League in the third qualifying round, while Ajax will enter the Europa League in the playoff round. This exciting conclusion to the Eredivisie season sets the stage for an intriguing 2023/24 campaign.