Koeman: 'Maybe Tuesday'

For the first time since December of 2002 Ajax lost a home match in the domestic league. Then PSV were too strong (2-4), after Ajax had just beaten AS Roma for the UEFA Champions League. Now Heerenveen left the Amsterdam ArenA with a 3-1 victory and coach Ronald Koeman said he hopes that Ajax will be better on Tuesday. Then the all-important match against Maccabi Tel-Aviv will be played on the same pitch.

Hatem Trabelsi played his first match for Ajax since February of this year, when he also played against Heerenveen. The result was not much better, back then Ajax lost 4-1. But never had Heerenveen won in Amsterdam.

Until this Saturday. Ajax, without Rafael van der Vaart, Tomás Galásek and Mauro Rosales, played poorly from the get-go. The team turned the ball over with alarming regularity. The home team did create some good chances, but the ball would not go in. Apart from the 33rd minute, when Yannis Anastasiou scored from a corner. Nigel de Jong headed it through and the Greek striker was ready at the second post to put it in. The team took the 1-0 lead into the dressing room, and when they went there, the Ajax players were accompanied by boos and whistles from the restless crowd. ,,If Heerenveen would have played with more gusto in the first half, we would not have had the lead halfway'', said Koeman.

Heerenveen did just that in the second half, in which Wesley Sonck came on for Yannis Anastasiou. Ugur Yilderim brought his team level seven minutes into the half and Mika Väyrynen made it 1-2 after an hour. Ronald Koeman tried it with first-timer Stanley Aborah, who went to play very deep, but to no avail. Substitue Stefan Selakovic made matters worse by making it 1-3, three minutes before the end. In between Maxwell had had a good chance and the Belgian referee missed a handball in the box by Heerenveen.

,,We have only ourselves to blame'', Koeman admitted. ,,This is the first time in the three years that I have been here that things go so badly. But we have to stay calm, that is the only way to react in the light of Tuesday's match. Maybe we can do it then.''