Whoever says Lucky Ajax does not exist, was not in the Arena on Sunday afternoon. Ajax did not deserve to win against FC Twente and did not seem to be able to, but in the 92nd minute Mido?s beautiful cross reached Rafael van der Vaart who scored brilliantly. With two goals Van der Vaart again proved his worth, where many of his team mates did not reach their normal level. The 2-1 victory kept Ajax at the top of the league table.
Where would Ajax be without Van der Vaart? This time in midfield, where Koeman posted him deliberately - for his further development - , he was again very effective. ,,We should be thankful that Van der Vaart plays for Ajax’’, Koeman said afterwards. ,,He was already important in attack and today he showed that playing in midfield does not hurt his efficiency.’’
Van der Vaart was aggressive, sharp and accurate. Many of his team mates were not. Trabelsi had an off-day, because, his rushes on the side line excepted, he made too many mistakes, especially in defence. ,,I am glad ramadan ends this week’’, said the coach. ,,I don’t know if it had anything to do with his performance, but it cannot be good for his game.’’
Koeman had again fielded two wingers. But Ajax’s wings did not reach far against Twente. Coach Rene Vandereycken’s team defended aggressively and Sikora and Van der Meyde hardly made any impact.
But Ajax did take the lead when Trabelsi broke through on the right in the 18th minute. The Tunisian defender placed the ball between Van der Vaart and goalkeeper Boschker. Van der Vaart did not hesitate and scored with a bicycle-kick: 1-0.
Twente had a number of chances but thanks to goalkeeper Didulica the guests did not score. Until three minutes before halftime. Trabelsi and Cairo both ran at the ball. Trabelsi slipped and both players went down. Referee Van Egmond gave Twente a penalty. Sjaak Polak, the favourite of the Twente fans, put it away impeccably: 1-1.
Maxwell replaced De Jong at the start of the second half. Twente came on strong, but failed to beat Didulica. After an hour Koeman brought on first Mido and then Litmanen. They had to pursue the match winning goal. In stoppage time Mido succeeded. He chased down a ball on the left and his cross was headed in by Van der Vaart: 2-1. Ajax finished the match with only ten players. Captain Cristian Chivu limped off with thigh injury.
,,The goal could have been scored on both sides’’, Koeman said. ,,We played carelessly and lost the ball too often. Maybe that was because of the Champions League match against Valencia from last Wednesday. We did, however, fight right to the end and then sometimes you deserve a win. Let’s just say that it was the luck of the champion.’’