Ajax lose again
Ajax dropped points for the fourth time in a row. Vitesse were too strong in Arnhem: 4-1. ,,This is a game that we must forget quickly”, Marco van Basten said.
After two losses and a draw, pressure mounted on Marco van Basten's team the past week. Supporters even invaded the training pitch on Friday to ask for an explanation. Stay calm and keep the faith: it seemed the way to put up a good performance against Vitesse. But Ajax failed spectacularly at that in the Gelredome on Sunday. ,,We weren't into it today”, Van Basten said. ,,All in all this was a very disappointing experience. The previous three matches were at least real matches, but today it was very bad. A game to forget quickly.”
With Dario Cvitanich sidelined with a thigh injury, Jeffrey Sarpong was in the starting lineup. With two wins in a row, Vitesse were bursting with confidence. Ajax were put under pressure and conceded a goal after only seven minutes. Lasse Nilsson escaped the Ajax defence, went around Maarten Stekelenburg and scored.
Luis Suarez brought Ajax back in the match by heading in a free kick by Urby Emanuelson after 15 minutes. It gave Ajax a bit of breathing room, but the visitors created very few chances. Even without Nicky Hofs (he was taken off after 37 minutes with an injury), Vitesse had little trouble with Ajax. In the last five minutes of the first half, the home side struck twice. Dalibor Stevanovic curled the ball in the upper corner from distance and not long after Nilsson scored with a sliding: 3-1. ,,We lost the ball too often in midfield”, Van Basten said. ,,It became very difficult for our defence keep them at bay. We have to recognise when we can take risks and when not. We failed at that today.”
At halftime Van Basten made two substitutions. Darko Bodul made his debut when he replaced Urby Emanuelson. Vurnon Anita was replaced by Rasmus Lindgren. But the match did not swing Ajax's way. Leonardo came on a little later for Jan Vertonghen as an extra forward. But in stead of scoring, Ajax conceded another goal. Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored from Santi Kolk's cross. ,,It's no use pointing a finger at any one player”, Van Basten said. ,,We failed collectively.”
The only highlight of the afternoon was the debut of Darko Bodul. It is never easy to come on with the team 3-1 down, but the young striker showed glimpses of his talent. Bodul had mixed feelings after his first match in Ajax 1. ,,Of course I was happy that I got to play, but the disappointment of the loss prevails. I hope to show more the next time."
Ajax have a week to recover from another setback. Next Sunday the team will play rivals Feyenoord in the ArenA.