RKC hardly bothered Ajax on Saturday evening. Though Koeman had said that there would be no more easy matches to the end of the season, RKC was defeated easily. Ajax were up 3-0 halfway and added three goals in the second half: 6-1. Hatem Trabelsi scored his first official goal for Ajax. Coach Ronald Koeman had nothing but praise for his players after the match.
It promised to be a close match. Ajax had to win to keep hold of the important second place in the league and RKC needed the three points to stay in the race for European football. According to the club's web site, RKC had figured that Ajax's weaknesses were in the team's defence and goalkeeper Lobont. The latter, said the match preview, only proved himself in 'big' matches and is prone to make mistakes in the 'little' ones. A mistake perhaps. Koeman keeps reminding his players that there are only important matches to the end of the season. There are no little games anymore and no more easy opponents, Koeman said.
The home side played for possession right away and put the guests under pressure. RKC had no answer. The side only occasionally managed to get past the halfway line and so both Ajax's defence and the goalkeeper were hardly tested.
After three minutes Rafel van der Vaart, who replaced the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the team's striker, found the net for the first time. The linesman had raised his flag, however. Fifteen minutes later, Van der Vaart hit home again, almost identically. This time the goal counted. According to Martin Jol, RKC's coach, it might have been offside. Koeman agreed. ,,It could have been offside, but minutes earlier Van der Meyde should have had a penalty. Considering the way the match went, it's not important anymore". Two minutes before Van der Vaart's goal, Wesley Sneijder had opened the score on behalf of Ajax. Minutes before halftime, it was again Van der Vaart who made it 3-0 for the home side.
RKC were a bit more spirited after halftime but could not create any danger. Early in the second half Petri Pasanen finished off the visitors, if that had not already happened in the first half. From a short corner the Finnish defender headed in a cross by Sneijder: 4-0.
The fans began to cheer for Richard Witschge to come in the game. The veteran smiled about so much support, but did not need to warm up. Koeman: ,,As a coach, you look what is needed in a match, not what the crowd wants to see.'' The supporters' call for Witschge had not bothered the coach. ,,It's all part of the game'', he shrugged.
Ajax's fifth goal was not only a beauty, it was also Hatem Trabelsi's first official one in the Ajax strip. He playfully went by two defenders and brought the ball before his left foot. From some distance he curled the ball around goalkeeper Van Dijk.
Eventually Van der Vaart scored his third goal eight minutes from full time. RKC kept playing for a goal and were rewarded two minutes before the end. Jansen headed the ball behind Bogdan Lobont. The Ajax goalie was furious at his teammates, frustrated as he was that his team failed to keep a clean slate in such an easy game.
Koeman spoke afterwards of 'fantastic football' that his team had showed. ,,We played excellently in the first thirty minutes, the pace was high and we created many chances. I am also happy that we kept it going in the second half. I am very pleased."
At hte same time PSV drew 2-2 with AZ in Eindhoven. The difference between the numbers one and two in the league is now six points.