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Almost seven years ago Roger Schmidt watched with satisfaction as his Red Bull Salzburg Ajax blew off the mat in Amsterdam. Today he returned to the Johan Cruijff Arena as trainer of PSV. And for a moment history seemed to repeat itself.
The people of Eindhoven started with a lot of intensity, lurked on the changeover and then quickly came out of it. Exactly the way Schmidt likes it.
"Of course I am happy with my goals", said the Israeli striker afterwards. "Donyell has a lot of qualities. Today he made me better, next time I'll make him better. That's the secret."
Trainer Schmidt looked pleased: "That went very well today with Malen and Zahavi. Then there's no need for a coach."
But PSV is not Salzburg and the Ajax of yesterday is not the Ajax of today. Despite the big lead PSV often had to go far back and after about half an hour he got away well when Dusan Tadic popped on the pole. The Serbian was with a good dribble and perfect cross also at the base of the 2-1 of Quincy Promes.
After rest, Ajax cleaned the damage away completely through Antony. And then it became buttressing for the people of Eindhoven, even though Zahavi was still stumbling close to his hattrick in the final stage.
"I'm satisfied with a draw", coach Schmidt didn't beat about the bush. "Though it might feel different if you give a 2-0 lead. They did increase the pressure and we had to go back. But even in the second half we still had two, three good chances. No, the result is okay."
But some will have seen again that PSV delivered a good first half and a much lesser second half. "That's a legend," Schmidt says fiercely. "I really don't think so. I always go a little deeper into the analysis and don't see any regularity."
"In the second half Ajax came at us with so many attackers", Zahavi saw. "But we fought today, which was nice to see."
Colleague Erik ten Hag was complimentary for the opponent ("PSV is a very good team") and predicts an exciting course of the competition. Fact is that the top of the premier league is collapsing. The difference between frontrunner Ajax and number four Vitesse is only three points.
Wednesday number five AZ will come to Eindhoven for the next topper. Schmidt hopes to bring in some extra quality with Mario Götze. "We tried to get Götze ready for today, but it didn't work out. We are now trying for Wednesday."
Ajax goes on Thursday to visit FC Twente, the current number six.
Look below at the summary of the topper between Ajax and PSV.