Ajax did what they needed to do on Sunday in Waalwijk. Martin Jol’s team was flawless against RKC Waalwijk: 1-5. As a result of this win, Ajax moves into second place, past PSV. Leader FC Twente still leads Ajax by four points.
With six matches left, Ajax has reached second place, which gives them the right to play in the Champions League pre round. They earned this after their competitors PSV and FC Twente split points (1-1) and Ajax posted a sound win over RKC. The team from Amsterdam therefore moved past PSV in the rankings.
Although you wouldn’t know it from the final score, the afternoon wasn’t all smooth sailing for Ajax. After a tricky start (line save by Anita), Ajax took a quick lead. Siem de Jong, on the right track during the last weeks, sent in a header at close range in the ninth minute from Suarez’s corner kick: 0-1.
Jol had to make a number of changes to the lineup due to suspensions. The suspended defensive pair of Alderweireld/Vertonghen was replaced by Anita/Oleguer. Gabri replaced the suspended De Zeeuw at midfield.
RKC, firmly entrenched in Eredivisie’s last place, didn’t give up after the first goal against. “RKC had about five opportunities before half time, which isn’t consistent with our goal average”, said Jol afterwards. The home team sought to attack, and were rewarded within half an hour. A free kick from Boerrigter was touched by Berger and Pantelic, after which the ball landed in the goal, by the post. Ajax’s forward was the last to touch the ball, and the goal was written up as an own goal. Soon after, Ajax seemed poised to take the lead again, but Suarez’s clean goal was disallowed, on the assistant referee’s advice.
Soon after the break, Ajax pulled themselves together. Suarez once again beat keeper Levita, and his goal was honoured this time: 1-2. In the lead once again, Ajax didn’t give anything away. “The goals came at good moments”, said Jol afterwards, referring to the goal which made the score 1-3 midway through the second half. RKC player Hans Mulder tipped Eyong Enoh’s pass into his own goal.
RKC’s resistance was broken after this goal. This only got worse after the home team, facing its 24th defeat of the season, was down to ten men for the last twenty minutes after a red card (two yellow cards) for Ruud Berger. The ten RKC players couldn’t stop more goals from their opponents the closing minutes. In the 85th minute, Suarez scored his second goal for the afternoon, and 29th of the season. One minute later, substitute Rommendahl scored the final goal, 1-5.
Jol was understandably pleased with the win, and Ajax’s move past PSV into second place. But the trainer admitted that Ajax had had a tough time during the first half. “It may seem like it was an easy win, but – especially during the first half – it definitely wasn’t. But we made up for it during the second half.”