League leader Ajax has crowned the Amsterdam ArenA’s anniversary with a big win against sc Heerenveen. Exactly fifteen years after the official opening, the reigning national champion defeated Heerenveen 5-1. New team members Sigthórsson and Boerrigter both scored their first goals at home in the competition.
Kolbeinn Sigthórsson predicted confidently last Friday that his first goal for Ajax would come. The cool headed Icelander stayed true to his word against Heerenveen, shortly before the break. After several good opportunities, (among which a header on the crossbar), he brought Ajax into a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute. Derk Boerrigter extended the ball in the box with a header, after which Sigthórsson outsmarted his opponent, Michel Breuer. His first Ajax goal was a done deal: 1-0.
The full Amsterdam ArenA was only able to enjoy the lead for a minute. Spectator Klaas Jan Huntelaar (who scored three times on Saturday for Schalke ’04) saw his former club squander the lead against his other former club. At the next counter attack, Bas Dost, who was completely free, brought Heerenveen even: 1-1. The tall forward, who nearly joined Ajax last winter, scored on a pass from Viktor Elm. Just as Sigthórsson’s 1-0 goal, the new score was short lived. With a merciless long distance shot into the upper corner, Toby Alderweireld put Ajax back into the lead four minutes later. The score remained 2-1 going into the break.
Jan Vertonghen was forced to sit out the first home match of the season, just as he had been last week against De Graafschap. Ajax’s captain is still recovering from a groin injury suffered during the lead up to the season. Daley Blind stood in for him in the heart of defense. In addition to Vertonghen, Nicolai Boilesen was also absent. The Dane, who made his debut on the Danish national team last Wednesday, was on the bench as a precaution due to a slight ankle injury. Frank de Boer had a good alternative in Vurnon Anita to keep right winger Luciano Nasingh at bay.
Under captain Theo Janssen’s lead, Ajax attempted to expand its lead after halftime. On a Christian Eriksen pass, Derk Boerrigter scored the sought after 3-1 goal. Just like Sigthórsson, Boerrigter also scored his first Ajax goal at home. This was a great reward for the forward, who has earned a starting spot with the champions immediately upon his return to Ajax.
With a two goal margin in its favour, Ajax continued to seek more goals. Gregory van der Wiel came close to scoring the fourth one for Ajax. The right back for Ajax and the Dutch team sent his header over the crossbar. Thulani Serero came in for fellow midfielder Eriksen for the last half hour. The small South African, who was good for an assist last Saturday during the interland against Burkina Faso, took on a similar role for Ajax. Fifteen minutes before time, he played the ball to Miralem Sulejmani, who scored: 4-1. The Serbian player has now scored three goals in competition play and is the Eredivisie’s (shared) top scorer.
Van der Wiel had the final say. The defender put a close range shot (after a heel pass from substitute Ebecilio) past keeper Vanderbussche, thus sending the supporters home with a fifth Ajax goal. Frank de Boer: “We put pressure on Heerenveen for ninety minutes today. That’s what we want to see. I’m very happy with our play today. It was also nice that the newcomers both scored. It’s especially important for a centre forward to get the confidence that comes with that. But it’s good for Boerrigter, too. He scored many goals last season with RKC. He’s setting course with Ajax in the same vein, scoring two goals in two matches.”