Another setback for Ajax

Another setback for Ajax

Ajax fought back to 2-2 after being 0-2 down against Heracles Almelo. Marco van Basten's team even seemed to pull out a last-second win, but it was not Ajax's night.

Jan Vertonghen en Gregory van der Wiel begrijpen niet waarom het derde Ajax-doelpunt niet telt.
Jan Vertonghen en Gregory van der Wiel begrijpen niet waarom het derde Ajax-doelpunt niet telt.

Another setback, in the second home match of 2009. Ajax seemed to escape when Luis Suarez scored from up close in the last possession of the match. But as the Arena erupted with joy and relief, the linesman indicated that Suarez had been offside. ,,I was definitely not offside”, said Suarez. ,,I started two metres behind my defender.” Van Basten also reacted furiously to the decision. ,,It was very close and we managed to pull out a win after working very hard, and then the linesman all of a sudden puts up his flag. I could not control my anger for a little bit. I believe that the linesman did what he thought was the right thing, but he could have checked with the fourth official.”
It would have been quite a sensation if Ajax had left the pitch with three points, because halfway through the match Heracles were up 0-2. Ricky van den Bergh struck in the 12th minute and Vojtech Schulmeister scored in the 31st minute.
Ajax had enough chances, but the home side was either unlucky or not sharp enough. ,,You could see our confidence dropping after missing all those chances", Van Basten said. ,,Everybody was thinking: 'not again'." After the 0-2 Van Basten took off Urby Emanuelson and brought on Siem de Jong. ,,Something had to happen. With De Jong we chose for more certainty."
Ajax seemed to fight an uphill battle in the second half. Heracles defended well and Ajax worked hard but created few chances. But with twenty minutes to play (with Jeffrey Sarpong on for Vurnon Anita), the match shifted. From a pass by De Jong, Micky Sulejmani made it 1-2 in the 70th minute. Not long after, De Jong was brought down in the box and Luis Suarez scored from the penalty spot. With the score level, the crowd got into it and Ajax smelled blood. Leonardo came on for Dario Cvitanich and more chances were created. In added time the home side completed the turnaround when Suarez scored. But the goal was disallowed. ,,That's a shame”, Van Basten said. ,,People will talk about this for a while, but in time all people will remember is that the match ended in 2-2.''
The result means that AZ can take further distance from Ajax. FC Twente, who play against NAC on Wednesday, can even take over second place. Ajax will play at Vitesse on Sunday and will miss Siem de Jong. He broke his collar bone when he was brought down in the penalty box.