Ajax stay top thanks to strong mentality

Ajax booked a great victory on Sunday when they won 3-1at FC Groningen. It was especially good that the team from Amsterdam managed to win three points because the team had to spend a few hours outside their hotel in the middle of the night when the team bus burned down. The victory means Ajax still lead the Dutch league.

Ajax travelled to Groningen on Saturday so the players would not have to spend a long time in the bus on match day. The preparations where severely disrupted however, when the team bus burned down next to the hotel in the middle of the night. The police suspect arseny. The players had to be evacuated from their rooms and spent a few hours on the hotel's parking lot. Ronald Koeman adressed the situation after the match: ,,I don't want to say too much about it. It was a hectic day, that started sooner than planned. I asked during the pre-match talk if there were players who were physically or mentally unable to play. But they all said they were ready."

FC Groningen started well and despite the fact that Ajax had the most possession, it was the home side that took the lead when Arvid Smit passed Bogdan Lobont from close range after Ajax failed to clear a corner.

But Ajax showed they were mentally strong. Five minutes later Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the best player on the pitch on Sunday, tied the score when he struck hard from just outside the box: 1-1.

Ajax went looking for more in the second half. The team played better than before halftime, but struggled to finish the oportunities. Koeman brought on young Romanian left winger Nicolae Mitea to create more danger on the left side. The important second goal came from the right. Ibrahimovic found Wesley Sonck who turned and fired with his left: 1-2.

With Nigel de Jong for Steven Pienaar and Jelle van Damme for Rafael van der Vaart Ajax looked for the counter attack as Groningen made a desperate last attempt to level the score. Hatem Trabelsi passed to Mitea, who scored his first official goal for Ajax 1 and put the match out of FC Groningen's reach.

,,I am very pleased'', said Ronald Koeman. ,,Especially after what happened last night.''