Copa Libation–PSG v Ajax
Drink: Bailey’s and Coffee
Snack: Peanut Butter Pie
This match could best be summarized by experience beats youth.
PSG were already through to the Champions Leageue Knockout Round and went with first choice players up top (Ibra, Lavezzi and Cavani) and in the back (Sirigu, Van Der Wiel, Marquinhos, David Luiz and Maxwell). Lucas Moura started on the bench, which was disappointing for me because I love his pace and directness, and he eventually came on as a sub, but Pastore more than made up for it. He was really in the mood with some deft and clever touches throughout. Ibra reminded of Cantona. The big Swede did what he wanted, strutting around the field, picking out teammates, making rash challenges. He set up the opening goal as PSG took advantage of an Ajax turnover. He played in Lavezzi, who laid off for Skeletor. Ibra then scored a fantastic goal after controlling with his chest and firing into the far post. Another player that caught my attention was the French youngster Rabiot, who is only 19 and anchored the middle for the hosts.
Ajax needed a win to make sure of progression to the Europa League and put out a very young line up. Both teams pressed early and made possession out of the back uncomfortable and the result was a lot of long balls not much in the attacking third. After about twenty minutes the Dutch got their collective foot on the ball and knocked it around for several minutes but couldn’t muster a shot. During this period of dominance they made the mistake (turnover in midfield) which led to the first goal. They got back into the game in the second half as all the passing was finally finished up with an end product. Kishna received the ball in left hand channel after a long series of passes and spotted the run of Klassen, and his diving header found the back of the net. Unfortunately the visitors made another mistake which put the match beyond reach. Zimling, on for Serero, made a horrible pass back to the keeper, and Cavani jumped on it, rounded Cillessen and made it 3-1. Thought Serero did well holding down the middle and loved the aggressive play of Kishna on the left side of the visitors.
The two iconic kits looked very sharp and provided a nice contrast for the viewer. It was the contrast of youth and experience that eventually showed itself. As the commentator mentioned several times, Ajax dominated possession but could not create enough chances as PSG sat in and picked them off. Although PSG have struggled in the league to this point, with Marseille has coming back to the pack in recent weeks, I have felt that they are not far away from an European challenge after the progress made over the last couple of seasons. Ajax return home with only two points in the Champions League, but they are second in the Eredivisie and looking for fifth league title in a row. Much room for improvement but promising signs from the Dutch side.