Ajax disappoint in own stadium

Ajax seemed to be on a roll. After losing at PSV 2-0 in October, the team only had to concede a draw against Feyenoord. All other matches were won. The streak of six league wins in a row came to an end this Sunday when ADO Den Haag held Ajaxx to a 0-0 draw. ,,Disappointing'', coach Ronald Koeman said.

Another streak was broken. The last time Ajax did not score in a league match was almost four years ago. On 8 April 2001 PSV won 1-0 in Amsterdam. That could have been the result of this match as well, because the visitors from The Hague played a well-organised game.

ADO were happy with the draw, and that made sense but was also a bit strange, because the team had had the best chances. ,,Football can be fun'', Ronald Koeman said to the press after the match. ,,But it can also not be fun and that was the case today. We did not start the match well and played too low a pace. Not many players were good in the first half.''

Ajax got away lucky after five minutes when Cedric van der Gun was given a breathrough on the right. If it was not for Hans Vonk, who celebrated his 35th birthday, ADO would have had an 1-0 advantage and could have leaned back.

But that did not happen. Ajax kept a clean sheet, but offensively the side were powerless. ,,We missed the aggression of the previous matches'', said Koeman. ,,I took off Sneijder and Mitea at halftime, but I could have replaced eight more.''

The coach hoped to give the team new impulses with Ryan Babel and Steven Pienaar in the second half. But the sloppy play continued. Ajax came on more and more, Maxwell went to midfield and the team had four forwards in the last fifteen minutes when Daniƫl de Ridder came on for Mauro Rosales and went to the left, while Charisteas and Babel played in the centre and Steven Pienaar on the right wing. Rafael van der Vaart also played in the box often, but ADO goalkeeper Dorus de Vries did not have to save often. It was not meant to be for the Amsterdam team this afternoon.

Koeman had no explanation for his team's poor performance. ,,That's football, you cannot always explain it. I think the team really wanted today and that they realised who they were playing, but because we started so badly, we kept chasing them. Now you can even say that a draw is a good result, because ADO had good chances in the second half.''

,,With this 0-0 we dropped points in our own home again. That has happened too often this season. We have the most points in away matches, but we lose too many at home.'' Ajax have dropped nine points in the Amsterdam ArenA so far.