Ajax defeated Excelsior by 4-0 on Sunday while league leaders PSV lost to FC Utrecht by 3-1. The gap with PSV is now six points. Is the Dutch title race open again?
The win against Excelsior was Ajax's third in a row, the first time that happened since September, when Ajax defeated Heracles, AZ and VVV consecutively. The streak is nice for the statistics, but the most important thing was that the gap with PSV shrunk to six points. The title race seems open again, more so because next week Ajax will face PSV in Eindhoven. ,,This win is very important”, Adrie Koster said. ,,We should not get ahead of ourselves, but next week we get the chance to get closer. This was a good weekend.”
Back to the match. What Ajax could not do in the last two matches against Excelsior, they did this Sunday: the Amsterdammers won and did that without having to go too deep. Ajax had the initiative for 90 minutes and were not in danger at any moment. The home side made it a fun match for the 49,313 fans, although the pace was slow at times.
Ajax took the lead after 26 minutes through a goal by Klaas Jan Huntelaar. The Ajax striker fired the ball in from close range after a superb pass from Siem de Jong. Huntelaar also made it 2-0. He headed in the ball after 40 minutes from a cross by George Ogararu, who replaced the suspended Bruno Silva.
Koster replaced Kennedy with Leonardo in the second half. The Brazilian played on the right wing and showed some great moves. He was not involved in the 3-0 (a goal by Urby Emanuelson in the 55th minute) but Leonardo made it 4-0 himself. In the 85th minute he struck after a touch by Emanuelson. Not only ‘Leo’ had a good day, Samuel Kuffour also left the stadium feeling happy. The Ghanese defender came on in the 60th minute for John Heitinga and that made it his official debut in Ajax 1. Kuffour did well in his first 30 minutes: he won the challenges, had some good touches and came forward on a few occasions.
Adrie Koster has a whole week to prepare his team for the clash with PSV. In seven days we will know if the title race is open again.