After agreeing his move to Chelsea at the end of the season, Hakim Ziyech set two targets for his remaining four months at Ajax: winning the Eredivisie, again, and winning the Europa League.
Unfortunately, he will not be able to complete that second target.
Ajax were one of the more shocking exits* of the Round of 32 of Europe’s second-tier competition, as they were unable to overcome a 2-0 first leg deficit in Thursday night’s second leg in Amsterdam. An early away goal from Getafe’s Jaime Mata (no relation to Juan) gave the visitors all the advantage they needed. Ajax did score a couple to win on the night, but they would’ve needed to double that to advance.
To add to the frustration, Ziyech himself was unable to play, missing his second straight game in a row with a calf injury — possibly the same injury that had kept him out for the much of the previous month as well before his short-lived comeback.
It’s not been a great week for Ajax, their European elimination sandwiching a shock 1-0 defeat to Heracles. Their lead at the top of the Eredivisie is now just 3 points over AZ, whom they play at home this Sunday. It’s not clear if Ziyech will be able to take part in this massive title six-pointer.
* Arsenal, despite winning the away leg last week, are also out after losing at home to Olympiakos. David Luiz did a(nother) David Luiz to gift the visitors a last-minute extra-time winner. Manchester United and Wolves march on, as do Conte’s Inter.