Good restart for Ajax

Good restart for Ajax

Ajax have digested the most recent period of international football well. Coach Adrie Koster needed only one training with his full squad to get his team back on track. Vitesse were dfeated by 4-1 in the ArenA.

Hedwiges Maduro was, until his forced substitution, one of the better Ajax players on the afternoon.
Hedwiges Maduro was, until his forced substitution, one of the better Ajax players on the afternoon.

Due to all the international football, it was quiet in and around the Amsterdam ArenA in the past two weeks. Many players of Ajax had gone to play for their countries. On Thursday, the first batch of internationals returned to Amsterdam, the second group came on Friday but it was not until Staurday that Ajax appeared on the training pitch with a full group. One training session proved enough to continue on the road to success: scoring goals and winning. ,,The result was maybe a bit flattering”, Adrie Koster said. ,,And it was not always good what we showed today, but in the end I thought it was a good win.”

With Gregory van der Wiel out with a knee injury, Jan Vertonghen played as a central defender this time. Urby Emanuelson played as left back and Siem de Jong played left in midfield. Ajax began the match as the better team, but it was Vitesse with the first good chance early in the match: Sebastien Sansoni hit the crossbar from distance. After fifteen minutes Ajax scored. Gabri captured the ball at the edge of the box. The ball came to Luque, who set up Luis Suarez for the easy header: 1-0. Ajax struck again ten minutes later. This time it was Hedwiges Maduro who stole the ball. He ran forward and crossed to Gabri who put the ball in the back of the net. Just before halftime, John Heitinga was pulled down during a corner kick. Luque converted the penalty. After the 3-0, the concentration dropped and Vitesse went on a quick counter attack. Mads Junker scored. ,,That was a shame”, said Koster. ,,And it should not have happened. If we would have been up 3-0 at halftime, we would have had an easier afternoon. Now it was a little close after all.”

Gabri was replaced at halftime by Robbert Schilder and after an hour Maduro went off and Mitchell Donald came on. ,,Gabri had a calf injury and maduro was bothered by his ankle”, Koster said. ,,We will see how serious these injuries are in the next few days.”

Ajax had a difficult start of the second half. Vitesse pushed on and came close to making it 3-2 on a few occasions. In the final fifteen minutes, the crowd got into it and Ajax bounced back. Dennis Rommedahl again proved himself a good substitute and provided the ideal cross for Klaas Jan Huntelaar's 82nd-minute goal.

Feyenoord lost at FC Groningen, making Ajax the lone league leaders. Vitesse's coach Aad de Mos, who thought his team deserved more than they got, labelled Ajax the title favourites. ,,With Albert Luque, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Luis Suarez they have a fantastic attack. If you add Kennedy and Dennis Rommedahl, than you have really good material.”

Ajax again play at home next Sunday, when they will face NAC Breda. With a normal training week ahead, Koster's team can only improve more.