Ajax posted an easy victory against FC Utrecht on Sunday. Martin Jol’s team won 4-0 in the Amsterdam ArenA. Luis Suarez scored twice, and the Ajax defence kept another clean sheet at home.
Thanks to a string of wins at home, Ajax’ string of good home results continued. Just like last week against Vitesse, Ajax scored four times in the ArenA, keeping up the pressure on FC Twente and PSV. It also convincingly avenged the 2-0 loss from the away match against Utrecht.
“I hope we can play to our strengths”, said Jol before the game. “Especially with Suarez back.” The captain was forced to sit out the Europa League duel against Juventus (0-0) last week, due to a European suspension. In contrast, he hasn’t missed a minute of competition play this season. The top scorer assured Ajax of two goals in his return. The first of these, shortly before the break, was a bizarre one. Jan Vertonghen’s free kick landed on Utrecht’s wall, after which the Belgian struck the rebound with a hard kick against Suarez’s back, changing its direction and leaving substitute keeper Sinouh, in for the ill Vorm, without a chance: 1-0.
At the moment Suarez’s curious goal happened, Ajax already enjoyed a one player advantage on the field. In the 33rd minute, referee Bramhaar issued a red card to Jan Wuytens, after he collided with Siem de Jong, legs extended. This was a turning point for Ajax, who had been having a tough time with a defensively playing Utrecht (Keller’s goal was disqualified due to his hand), playing in the ArenA without the support of the 600 fans who had made the trip. These supporters, upon arriving in Amsterdam, were sent back to Utrecht because of persistent, offensive chanting.
Jol made two substitutions during halftime. Both Marko Pantelic, who received a knock to his side, and Vurnon Anita, remained in the locker room. With substitutes Dennis Rommendahl and Urby Emanuelson inside the lines, Ajax put some distance between themselves and Utrecht’s ten men. Demy de Zeeuw (long range shot), Siem de Jong (header) and an active Christian Eriksen all could have scored the second goal. Gregory van der Wiel finally did the honours in the 66th minute. The defender’s header, on a pass from Rommendahl, went in convincingly: 2-0.
The next goal came a few minutes later. Suarez weaved through various Utrecht defenders, finally coming eye to eye with Sinouh, and scoring his 26th competition goal of the season. With this, he matched an Ajax international club record, which he now shares with Ray Clark, who in the 1978/79 season, scored 38 goals in 44 official matches. Suarez has now reached that total in 37 official matches.
Suarez made the statistics twice more, in the closing minutes of Ajax-Utrecht. Ajax’s captain added a yellow card, and an assist, to his name. First, he was punished for his infraction on keeper Sinouh. Soon after, his pass, which nearly went past the goal, was ticked in by the second post by Rommendahl: 4-0. The yellow card earns him a suspension for the Sparta Rotterdam match. Luckily, this will wipe the top scorer’s slate clean for him to make his return for the showdown against PSV in two weeks.