Ajax recover against Roda

Ajax recover against Roda

After the beating they took at Vitesse three days earlier, Ajax recovered against Roda JC. Wesley Sneijder and Zdenek Grygera scored both the team's goals in the first half.

Coach Henk ten Cate had scheduled a training on Christmas day after the loss at Vitesse (4-2) to impress upon his players that it was unacceptable to squander a 2-0 lead and play uninspired football. The lessons could be put into practice two days later. Again Ajax led by two goals at halftime. Wesley Sneijder cleverly stole the ball from goalkeeper Castro and gave Ajax the lead after 15 minutes. Defender Zdenek Grygera then continued his goalscoring streak when he fired in the ball from close range after Thomas Vermaelen headed through a corner kick by Tom de Mul in the 42nd minute.
Now the team was put to the test in the second half against Roda JC, always a tough opponent. Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg was ill and Dennis Gentenaar took his place, making his league debut for Ajax. Gentenaar organized his defence well, stayed calm and professionally performed his job on the rare occasion that he had to make a save. It also helped that Jaap Stam had returned to the lineup, giving Ajax another defensive anchor. The home team passed the test in the second half. Although Ajax never sparkled after halftime, Roda was given very few chances to score. Ajax added no goals to their total in the second half, but did keep a clean slate and gained on AZ and league leaders PSV.