Ajax won for the first time under new head coach Adrie Koster on Sunday. The side won at Utrecht by 0-1. ,,Compliments to the team”, Koster said after the match. ,,They really fought for each other.”
FC Utrecht away is no easy task. Something that Adrie Koster realized beforehand. ,,If you take it easy here, it's going to be difficult. We knew that and that is why we looked for an offensive solution. We played with guts and it turned out well for us.”
Koster was forced to make some changes in te lineup for the clash with FC Utrecht. Siem de Jong got to start in a league match for the first time, Gregory van der Wiel replaced central defender Jaap Stam (who was out due to family circumstances) and Dennis Gentenaar was on goal because Maarten Stekelenburg's broken finger had not healed completely yet. But despite it all, Ajax had a good start of the match. So good even, that Utrecht were overplayed in the beginning. Dennis Rommedahl hit the crossbar in the second minute and moments later Ajax appeared to have earned a penalty when Hedwiges Maduro was brought down. But referee Haverkort put the ball just outside the box. Shortly after that, Maduro headed the ball onto the crossbar. ,,Today Klaas Jan Huntelaar did not really play all the way up front, but slightly behind that”, said Koster. ,,That is why we always had an extra player in midfield. Utrecht had no answer for that in the beginning. We immediately created chances and were really into it from the start.”
Despite Ajax's good start, Utrecht grew a little stronger as the half went on. The home side was mainly dangerous with shots from distance (George, Somers) and forced the Ajax defence to strong measures. Gabri and John Heitinga were booked and they will miss the next league match.When Urby Emanuelson had to be taken off after 27 minutes, it appeared to become a difficult afternoon for Ajax. But Emanuelson's replacement, Jan Vertonghen, played very well and Ajax forced Utrecht back at the end of the first half. Luis Suarez created much danger, but he was stopped by goalkeeper Grandel, who played well.
In the second half, Ajax remained the better team. Albert Luque replaced Dennis Rommedahl after an hour and he was shortly after that involved in the Ajax goal. The Spaniard, the past days slightly injured, received a good pass from the back and crossed to Klaas Jan Huntelaar. The striker handily scored his tenth goal of the season.
Ajax defended the advantage well, but still Utrecht had some good chances. The best one was for Leroy George, who fired at the Ajax goal from up close, but with a great reflex Gentenaar kept his team in the lead. ,,This win feels as a bit of a relief after all that has happened in the past weeks", Koster said.