As Spring begins, leagues across Europe are starting to draw to a close. The Eredivisie, though, is showing no signs of reducing in drama as this weekend saw Excelsior help out their city rivals by holding Ajax to a draw.
The Excelsior fans always create an atmosphere within their modest ground, intimidating opponents with an intense support from outside the stadium to down by the pitch. And, after Ajax defender, Kenny Tete put through his own net midway through the first half, the noise from the Stadion Woudestein certainly wasn’t going to quiet down.
It would have been a goal celebrated just as loudly by Feyenoord supporters as they, the league leaders and closing in on a first title since 1999, would benefit from a plucky display from the host side by moving six points clear of Ajax. Yet, the game was far from over at one-nil.
In a moment that we make look back on as historic, the latest Ajax prodigy and a young man the whole world is watching thanks to his skills and famous name, pulled his side level with his first ever goal in senior football. The young man in question is, of course, Justin Kluivert. Tapping in after Ziyech’s cross, the 17-year-old nestled a tap-in finish exactly 10 years and one day since his father, Patrick, scored his last Eredivisie goal. That goal was for PSV but this, like the club where Kluivert Snr made his name as a teenager, was for Ajax. Justin’s first goal for the first team has come even sooner than his dad’s, after Patrick broke through at the age of 18, crowning his rise to the height of the game with *that* goal in the Champions League final against AC Milan in Vienna.
With Ajax still in Europa League action this season, the parallels between Justin and Patrick’s debut seasons could be set to continue, however, the league title seems to be escaping them. Excelsior’s fine performance has allowed their own rivals to move six points clear at the top, a feat they achieved thanks to an away victory at Heerenveen. Yet, with seven games remaining, and this Eredivisie season throwing up surprise after surprise be it an upset at the top or the rise of a teenage sensation, the title race isn’t over yet.
Whilst Chelsea have run away with the Premier League, Dutch football has conjured up a fascinating season and one that is drawing to an enthralling close as the Spring sunshine shines down.