Ajax suffer mental blow against Sparta

Ajax suffer mental blow against Sparta

Ajax's away match at Sparta Rotterdam ended in utter disappointment. The home team won by 3-0 and first Wesley Sneijder and later coach Henk ten Cate were sent off. ,,The team has suffered a mental blow’’, said Henk ten Cate.

Three goals allowed and two red cards; Ajax suffered quite some damage in Rotterdam. Before fifteen minutes had passed, Wesley Sneijder was sent off. A push in the direction of Jeffrey Vlug and a following verbal reaction were the beginning of the end. Referee Bossen thought he was the aim of Sneijder's anger. Seconds after the yellow card, Bossen showed the midfielder a red card. ,,Wesley used a word that gets used hundreds of times each match’’, said Ten Cate. ,,If you send somebody off each time it gets said, the match ends with five Sparta players against five Ajax players. Wesley was not talking to the referee. I think he had his back turned to him. Playing with ten is extra tough, because we also played with ten against Prague on Thursday.’’

Like Ten Cate, Sneijder also thought a red card was too much. ,,That was too hard a punishment'', said the midfielder who announced he is going to appeal the decision. ,,I have a good feeling about that. But let's first look at Thursday. Then we face Espanyol.’’

After Sneijder's removal, Sparta took the initiative and kept it. Ten minutes before halftime, Yuri Rose headed the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg: 1-0. Ten Cate did not return to the bench after halftime. Bossen gave him a red card when he argued his case during the interval.

Jaap Stam and Kenneth Perez went off (Thomas Vermaelen and Nicolae Mitea came on) and Ajax could not catch up in the second half.
John Heitinga fouled Rachid Bouaouzan in the box and Sjaak Polak scored from the penalty spot: 2-0. After 84 minutes Haris Medunjanin scored his team's third goal from a free kick to make it 3-0.

It was Ajax's fourth match in a row without a win. Thursday Ajax have another chance when they play Espanyol in the Amsterdam ArenA.