Draw against Utrecht but damage is limited

After the match Ajax - FC Utrecht the Ajax team was left with mixed feelings. There was disappointment about the 1-1 draw, but relief that Feyenoord and PSV had also dropped points. Coach Ronald Koeman however, was worried about his defence.

Defender Johnny Heitinga wore the captain's armband against FC utrecht. Rafael van der Vaart was still recovering from an ankle injury and Tomás Galásek hurt his knee in the last training before the match. Tweny-year-old Heitinga had to lead his young defence in the knowledge that PSV and Feyenoord had both drawn in their respective matches, so Ajax could gain an bit of an advantage if Utrecht were beaten. But Utrecht are a difficult opponent for the team from Amsterdam, as the match for the Johan Cruijff Shield had shown three weeks earlier (2-4).

Anthony Obodai replaced Galásek and did that very well, according to Koeman. ,,He played a fantastic match'', the coach said about the Ghanese midfielder who was voted man of the Match.

Koeman was not so satisfied with the performance of his defence, but he realised that he had to play with very young players. ,,And young players are allowed to make mistakes. But if I see what we give away in a match that we dominate, I am worried. matches are decided in moments like these. I can't understand how we let them score their goal.''

Ajax lost the ball in the 21st minute and left too much space open in the back. Darl Douglas helped his team to an early advantage. Ajax had no answer at first. ,,We created dangerous situations but the ball wouldn't drop'', said Koeman.

,,We have to make sure we don't give anything away. Keep it 0-0. Domestically, we'll always make that one goal. Maybe it's because we are so young, or we want to do it too fast. Of course it is what you do with the ball that counts, but it also matters what you give away.''

Ajuax scored the equaliser in the second half. Koeman had brought on striker Wesley Sonck for defender Julien Escudé to increase the pressure on Utrecht. Two minutes later Steven Pienaar scored. Wesley Sneijder fired from long range and goalkeeper Terol could not hold the ball. Pienaar was there first and made it 1-1.

After that Utrecht stayed back to protect their goal, Ajax had more chances but could not produce the winning effort.

Koeman now sees all his internationals go for another ten days, before Ajax can start preparing for the match against ADO Den Haag.