Ajax were defeated by Vitesse in Arnhem: 4-2. After a virtually flawless first half, everything went wrong in the second part of the match.
Ajax lost more than points alone. Gabri was shown two yellow cards in the tumultuous second half and was sent off. The Spaniard misses Wednesday's match against Roda JC. Gabri’s fellow countryman Roger, who replaced the ill Jaap Stam in the heart of Ajax's defence, suffered an injury in the first half and had to be taken off.
The afternoon began well for Ajax. Zdenek Grygera gave his team the lead after only four minutes when he headed in the ball. Half an hour later, Tom de Mul doubled his team's lead when he put away a rebound of a shot by Ryan Babel. Ajax seemed headed for an easy win.
,,Vitesse did not get a single chance’’, said Henk ten Cate. ,,We did get the chances and we should even have gotten a penalty.’’ Klaas Jan Huntelaar appeared to have been brought down in the box, but strangely enough referee Pieter Vink awarded Ajax only a free kick. Ten Cate: ,,In the end, an 0-3 lead would not have been enough.’’
The Ajax boss saw to his disgust that his team started playing frivolously. It was the first sign of things to come. The visitors were not able to change things after halftime.
,,All of a sudden we were giving unnecessary back-heel passes’’, said Ten Cate. ,,Some players have a tendency to feel superior rather quickly. It's a matter of mentality, and youth. But on no level can I imagine that you allow such silly goals. We could not stop ourselves playing that way, it looked like a playground.’’
What happened against AZ, also plagued the side this time. The opponent pushed on for a short period of time and Ajax lost control. Within a few minutes, Mads Junker and Danko Lazovic levelled the score. And goals by former Ajax players Fred Benson and Youssouf Hersi in the closing minutes were fatal for Ajax.