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Ajax and PSV have played equal in an extremely interesting topper: 2-2. Although the people of Eindhoven gave away a 0-2 lead, given the image of the whole game the Amsterdam home team will feel that it has not rewarded itself.
By the draw, Ajax remains leader, at a point followed by PSV. Feyenoord and Vitesse, who did win this weekend, embrace the result in Amsterdam. Both teams are now two points behind Ajax.
For PSV the tandem Eran Zahavi-Donyell Malen was worth gold Sunday. Both of Zahavi's goals from Eindhoven fell after a good combination between the attackers. The Israeli returned from an injury and started partly because of the absence of the not fit Mario Götze. At Ajax the brand-new purchase of Sébastien Haller started on the bench.
Ajax-PSV was not only a direct fight for the lead, but also the first topper of this premier league season. Deliberately planned in January, hoping that fans could attend. But even without their presence, it was a dazzling clash, from the first whistle.
Already within two minutes led PSV in the Johan Cruijff Arena. Defender Olivier Boscagli found with a pass through the axis Malen and the Dutch national showed his class by playing the ball technically skilfully with the heel at Zahavi, who scored eye to eye with Ajax goalkeeper André Onana: 0-1.
With his first ball contact of the match Zahavi shot himself into the history books; it was PSV's 5000th premier league goal. But above all, the tone was set directly. Within ten minutes PSV'er Philipp Max almost scored the second goal from a free kick from the edge of the penalty area, but Onana stretched handsomely.
The Amsterdam team then regularly reported for the hostile goal, but did not create any big chances. In fact, PSV expanded the score. And trainer Schmidt will be pleased that the goal fell by putting high pressure on the Amsterdam side - after all, that's part of his philosophy.
Left-back Max took Ajax outfielder Antony the ball on the left, on which PSV pulled rap towards goal. Zahavi sent Malen deep and he pulled the ball back on his 33-year-old companion: 0-2.
Ajax trainer Erik ten Hag then sent Haller out of the dugout to warm himself up. In the field his squad screwed up the pace and the duels went faster. After half an hour that almost led to the connecting goal, but the ball exploded on the post after a bet by Dusan Tadic.
Five minutes before rest Ajax found it anyway. After another tough duel - Ajacied Nicolás Tagliafico won that of Denzel Dumfries - Tadic turned defender Jordan Teze. The Ajax captain found the freestanding Quincy Promes in the sixteen-metre area and scored.
In the hunt for the equalizer debuted after rest Haller. Prompt thought the club's record purchase (22.5 million euros) to fulfill that task by scoring after a depth pass from Tadic. But Haller was offside and so the goal was disallowed.
The last half hour started and the Amsterdam team took control. The pressure on the PSV defense got bigger and bigger and even resulted in the equalizer. Tadic was also important in this goal. He found Haller, who brought Antony into position. The Brazilian, who suffered an unfortunate loss of ball in PSV's 0-2, already hit with a 2-2.shot.
View the reactions of Haller, Zahavi, Malen, Ten Hag and Schmidt.
Ajax slightly weakened the grip on PSV. The fear of not losing was perhaps greater than the will to win. However, it was dangerous several times towards the final stage via Promes.
The same seemed to be the case with PSV, although the team became dangerous a few times in the closing stages. It felt robbed in the last few minutes as Ryan Gravenberch seemed to get the ball on his arms in the penalty area, but referee Björn Kuipers waved it away.