'Ajax the better team in two matches'

'Ajax the better team in two matches'

With another win against Feyenoord (2-4), Ajax qualified for the final round of the playoffs. Three days after the home victory against the team from Rotterdam, the side survived a stormy begin and won going away.

In an attempt to erase the 3-0 deficit sustained last Thursday, Feyenoord had to try something quickly. In a hectic stadium 'De Kuip' Sebastian Pardo, Salomon Kalou and Patrick Paauwe came closest to scoring in the early stages. But it soon proved to be a mission impossible. Feyenoord's back Pascal Bosschaart made a crucial error and Mauro Rosales took away the ball. He then had only goalkeeper Lodewijks to beat and so he did: 0-1. Klaas Jan Huntelaar remained equally calm only a few minutes later. The striker received the ball just onside and placed the ball in the far corner. ,,In the first stages of the match we were under pressure, as we had expected'', said coach Danny Blind. ,,But after the 0-1 we had no more problems. Also because we grew in the match.''

Six minutes into the second half, Markus Rosenberg and Angelos Charisteas (on for the injured Rosales) combined to provide a good cross to Nourdin Boukhari, who headed in the 0-3. ,,Boukhari gets better every week'', said Blind.

In a rapidly emptying stadium, Dirk Kuyt made it 1-3, but to eliminate Ajax, Feyenoord needed six more goals. ,,We gambled and lost'', said Feyenoord boss Erwin Koeman. ,,If we had scored the 1-0, everything would have been possible. But now, we knew we were defeated. All credits go to Ajax. They were the better team over two matches.''

Ajax substitute Nicolae Mitea had a personal highlight when he scored Ajax's fourth goal. The left winger got his first significant minutes in Ajax 1 after many months of rehab after he suffered a knee injury: 1-4. Minutes before the end, Dirk Kuyt made it 2-4.

Ajax now face FC Groningen, who eliminated AZ, in two matches for a spot in the preliminary round of the Champions League.