Ajax defeated RKC 2-0 on Saturday evening. Lasse Schöne and substitute Jody Lukoki scored for Ajax after the break. Christian Poulsen made his debut, and Ryan Babel returned to Ajax after a five year absence. On Tuesday, Ajax plays its first Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund.
Three days before the first Champions League match, Ajax had a good dress rehearsal in the Amsterdam ArenA. Thanks to a 2-0 win against RKC, Ajax can travel to Dortmund feeling confident about the new season in the top tournament. Without any new injuries or other setbacks, Ajax will be ready for its first European match of the season.
Ajax faced RKC with a completely Danish midfield. Christian Eriksen and Lasse Schöne were reinforced by Christian Poulsen, who made his debut. The 32 year old former international made his first appearance in the Amsterdam ArenA. After a football journey which includes FC Kopenhagen, Sevilla, Juventus, Liverpool and Evian, Ajax is his new employer this season.
Poulsen, and Ajax, were facing an opponent which almost always has a great start to the season in the Eredivisie. This year is no exception, as the Rooms Katholieke Combinatie is even with Ajax with eight points in four duels. In the ArenA, RKC was a worthy opponent in the first half against Ajax, which tried to take the lead, but keeper Jeroen Zoet didn’t let anything go by. One of the best opportunities was for Derk Boerrigter in the opening phase. His curved shot went over the goal of his former employer. After that, Eriksen had a few opportunities, but the scoreboard didn’t move. “If you get two hundred per cent opportunities before the break, you need to score at least once”, said Frank de Boer afterwards. “Fortunately, we were able to be patient, and continue to seek the 1-0 goal. After the break, that paid off.”
The second half started to loud applause. After a five year absence, Ryan Babel made his return to the ArenA. The 25 year old has returned home after adventures at Liverpool and Hoffenheim. Midway through the match, he came in for Boerrigter to play against the club he scored against three seasons in a row during his first stint in Amsterdam. This statistic wasn’t prolonged on Saturday. He was involved in both goals, however. Starting with Lasse Schöne’s opening goal. The 42 time international was at the root of the attack that eventually, via Eriksen and Schöne, led to a beautiful goal. With a subtle foot motion, Eriksen passed the ball to his country mate, who went on to do great things with it. With a hard shot, he left keeper Zoet hopeless: 1-0. Ajax had broken RKC’s resistance after 52 minutes.
Twenty minutes before time, Ajax doubled the score. One minute after coming in as a substitute, Jody Lukoki brought Ajax to a 2-0 lead. The quick winger received the ball from Babel, who, shortly before, had slowed down a bit with an eye on the upcoming Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund. Afterwards, De Boer was cryptic as to whether Babel will be best as a left winger or as a centre forward. “He can play both positions. The same goes for Siem de Jong, who can play several positions. We’ll take it game by game and see what’s best for the team. We have a good choice thanks to our broad selection.”
The 51.000 spectators witnessed an anniversary ten minutes before time. Miralem Sulejmani appeared in an Ajax competition duel for the one hundredth time. The Serbian international came in for Tobias Sana, and the home team effortlessly played the game out. De Boer: “Now we can focus on Dortmund.”