After matches in Almelo, Zagreb, Alkmaar and Werkendam, Ajax returned to the Amsterdam ArenA this Sunday. In the game against VVV-Venlo, the home side scored six goals (6-1) and increased their lead in the Dutch league.
The fatrnoon ended well with the large win, but began badly when Karim Soltani scored the first goal of the match on behalf of the guests (0-1) after a breakdown in communication between John Heitinga and Maarten Stekelenburg. But that was all for VVV-Venlo. Ajax followed with six goals of their own.
Albert Luque turned the match around when he scored twice in the space of three minutes. First the forward received a pass by Gabri after which he scored, then he fired with his right foot and goalkeeper Kevin Begois let it go. After 20 minutes, 0-1 had become 2-1.
Luque however suffered some bad luck after that, when he pulled a groin muscle when he scored. More information about his injury will probably come on Monday.
In the first half, Hedwiges Maduro and Luque's substitute Dennis Rommedahl extended the lead to 4-1. Luis Suarez would not score on the afternoon, but the way he prepared Rommedahl's goal said all abouut the Uruguyan's value for the team.
Suarez also did the most work for the fifth Ajax goal. Laurent Delorge finished off the attack that Suarez had begun with a series of great moves. The belgian midfielder could also look back on a good turn as a sub (for Gabri) with a goal and an assist. Delorge, who had spent quite some time injured, crossed to Klaas Jan Huntelaar, who made it 6-1.
,,We played well at times’’, coach Henk ten Cate said. ,,After the 4-1, more attacks deserved a goal. In the end we added two goals. Delorge played well after his injury.’’
The league table will be an extra source of inspiration and confidence Thursday, when Ajax face Dinamo Zagreb in the return leg of the first-round tie of the UEFA Cup. Henk ten Cate's team takes first place in the table after PSV and AZ dropped points this weekend. The 24 goals that Ajax have made, give the first place added lustre.