Ajax finish season in style

In the last match of the season Ajax did what the champions are supposed to do: win. Willem II was defeated 5-2 in Tilburg. Anthony Obodai made his first goals for Ajax 1 and Daniël de Ridder also closed off his season with a first goal.

Not much was at stake in the last match of the season in Tilburg. Ajax were already the champions and Willem II could not go up or down. As he had announced before, Ajax coach Ronald Koeman started with Maarten Stekelenburg on goal, to give the young talent a chance to join the Holland squad as third goalkeeper in Euro 2004.

In the first half hour of the match it showed that both teams knew the match had hardly any meaning. Just when it was really getting dull, Ajax scored. Daniël de Ridder, who played his third match in a week, made a good move on the right flank. Nobody seemed to expect his cross from the baseline as there was little movement before the goal of De Vlieger. Tom Soetaers, standing at the second post, only had to put his head behind the ball: 0-1.

Until the final minute of the first half Stekelenburg barely had an opportunity to show why he should be added to the national squad. But all of a sudden, referee Oskam decided that Zdenek Grygera was holding on to the shirt of Romano Dennboom too much and awarded the home side a penalty. Stekelenburg reacted well to the spot kick of Tom Caluwé and saved it. But Caluwé was the first to react and put in his own rebound: 1-1.

In the second half Ronald Koeman brought on Anthony Obodai for captain Rafael van der Vaart. Obodai made his presence felt immediately, first on the defensive end and a few minutes later on the other side. The Ghanese midfielder gave Ajax the lead again when he took a pass from Daniël de Ridder and scored calmly.

After Willem II had equalised through a header by Bart van der Eede it was again Obodai who put Ajax up. Koeman: ,,Obodai gave us more depth with his speed and we needed that. It freed him a couple of times and that is a quality that other midfielders lack. Rafael van der Vaart for instance does not possess his acceleration and therefore we could not reach Ibrahimovic in the first half.''

Ajax combined quickly and the swift passing delighted the supporters from Amsterdam. Willem II did their part as well but in the final 10 minutes the home team had no more energy. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 13th goal of the season and Daniël de Ridder closed off the season in style when he lobbed the ball over goalkeeper De Vlieger in the final minute: 2-5.