After two draws in the domestic league and a loss in the UEFA Champions League, Ajax won three points away at FC Den Bosch on Sunday: 5-0. And despite the weak resistance that FC Den Bosch offered, the three points were met with joy in the Ajax camp. Coach Ronald Koeman was happy with the fact that his team kept a clean sheet for the first time this season.
Koeman played with the same defenders that had given Juventus a hard time on Wednesday. But this time Bogdan Lobont was on goal instead of Maarten Stekelenburg, who injured his knee in the last training on Saturday. Lobont did a good job, although he was hardly tested as Ajax's last line gave away virtually no chances. ,,I am happy that we kept a clean sheet today'', Koeman said.
Ajax had a strong start. Tom de Mul showed good moves on the right wing and the home side could do nothing to stop the young Belgian or any other Ajax player. Wesley Sneijder was the first one to illustrate the difference in quality between both teams. The midfielder stole the ball from Uneke, moved forward and shot it hard past goalkeeper Mampaey: 0-1.
After the early goal Ajax slowed down. ,,The pace could have been higher'', Koeman said. ,,And we did not use the wings enough. We tried every6thing through the middle.''
After 35 minutes Ajax regained the momentum. Steven Pienaar found Wesley Sonck in scoring position but the Belgian striker had no luck in scoring on the day. ,,Sonck's play does not concern me'', Koeman declared. ,,He created space for his teammates. If they would not have scored, then I would be concerned.''
The others, however, did score. After 41 minutes Wesley Sneijder's free kick rebounded off the head of Mourad and Rafael van der Vaart shot the ball high in the goal: 0-2.
Sonck missed another good chance in the second half but minutes later a player who hardly ever scores, made it 0-3. Nigel de Jong's header from a free kick by Sneijder was stopped by Mampaey and Zdenek Grygera put away the rebound from close range; it meant his first official goal for Ajax.
With three substitutions - Anthony Obodai for Boukhari, Julien Escudé for the slightly injured Heitinga and Nicolae Mitea for De Mul - the visitors held Den Bosch firmly in their grip. From a free kick by Rafael van der Vaart Nigel de Jong scored easily after Sonck had drawn all the attention at the first post: 0-4.
Rafael van der Vaart, again on good form, signed for the last goal when he shot a free kick from the right past the defenders and the goalkeeper.
,,We owe it to ourselves to win here'', Koeman said. ,,After two draws and a loss, we needed this too.''
And because Feyenoord lost 3-0 at home to FC Utrecht, Ajax now are in second place in then league table and the team have scored the most goals in the league with 18.