Ajax started very strongly against AZ in Alkmaar. In the first half hour, the team from Amsterdam reigned supreme on the pitch. But after halftime, the tables had turned and after 90 minutes AZ came out the winners: 4-2.
,,Ajax played a great first half hour'', said Ajax coach Danny Blind. Blind referred also to the effort by Olaf Lindenbergh, who shortly after Wesley Sneijder scored, hit the post. ,,Unlucky'', Blind thought. ,,A second goal would have been great for my team.''
AZ coach Louis van Gaal also thought his team were out-classed in the first part of the match. Olaf Lindenbergh, Tomás Galásek and Hedwiges Maduro were in complete control in that period.
But instead of a second Ajax goal, it was the home side who were on target, although in a controversial manner. After a scrimmage before Hans Vonk's goal, the ball bounced off the goal post on or behind the line. Referee Luinge allowed the goal after advice from his linesman. ,,After the equaliser, we lost control'', said Blind. AZ took advantage of the disorder in Ajax's defence and scored again, through Shota Arveladze. Blind: ,,Thankfully, Sneijder's goal right before halftime brought us back.'' Sneijder curled a free kick in the goal: 2-2.
AZ started the second half as the better side. Again within a time span of two minutes, in the 55th and the 57th minute, AZ scored twice. ,,We lose the match in two or three minutes. Trabelsi made a wrong choice when Perez scored his first goal and later Steven Pienaar didn't look good either.''
Mauro Rosales and Angelos Charisteas came on for Rosenberg and Pienaar and although they did well, they couldn't change the score. When Lindenbergh was shown a red card in the final minutes, it got even more difficult for Ajax. Only for Edgar Manucharyan was the match a somewhat happy occasion. The Armenian winger made his debut for the club.