A disappointing draw is all Ajax managed against De Graafschap who are last in the league table. And even more worrying was the fact that three players left the pitch with an injury. Joey Didulica, Rafael van der Vaart and Victor Sikora could not complete 90 minutes, and Tuesday AS Roma is the next opponent in Amsterdam.
It did not show that Ajax had 28 more points in the league table. De Graafschap played aggressively and that cost Ajax two early injuries in the cold. As soon as Ajax had taken the lead - Mido scored from a clutch situation - Rafael van der Vaart hobbled off in the 17th minute. Witschge was his replacement. Ten minutes later another player had to be taken off. Joey Didulica was hurt and had to be replaced by Maarten Stekelenburg.
It left Koeman with few options. Normally, the coach can change the flow of the match with calculated substitutions. Now the coach had to bring on Zlatan for the also injured Sikora in the second half. Koeman had wanted to replace Mido, who failed to cover his man Bakens at a dead ball situation, from which Zafarin scored the equaliser.
Mido had to come off anyway, when he was shown the red card in the 84th minute. The linesman signalled to referee Temmink that Mido had hit opponent Van der Kruis. The Egyptian striker could not believe it. ,,He stepped on my leg, I did absolutely nothing. Television images will prove me right. He would do well in Hollywood.
,,It was the kind of match I expected, said Koeman. ,,De Graafschap is on the way up. They played on the edge. We were fortunate to score the first goal, but we could have made one or two more. Our players up front were too selfish. We should have done more with the space our opponents left us.