Ajax through to semis after rough match

Under severe circumstances - there was a thick layer of snow on the pitch and it was freezing severely - Ajax reached the semi-finals of the Dutch cup. Ajax visibly had troubles with the hard pitch in the first half, as the lines were hardly visible. Home side ADO Den Haag adjusted better to the circumstances, but in the second half, Ajax were the better team. The team took another big step toward one of the prices for which the club is still in the race.

The new coaching duo did not want to change much in comparison to last Sunday. ,,That's why we chose Anthony Obodai as left back'', Ruud Krol explained. The Ghanese international took over Nigel de Jong's position. De Jong was hurt against Roda on Sunday and could not play. All the other positions were similar to that match.

Despite the weather - it had snowed all day and there was a thick layer of snow around the stadium - the cup match went through. Everybody at the home club had done their best to make the pitch ready to be played on.

At first, Ajax made an unsure impression on the snowy pitch. The home team seemed less bothered by it and had the best chance through Stroeve and Jamie Smith. But Ajax had Maarten Stekelenburg in the goal, and he seemed not bothered by the weather and made some fine saves.

Ten minutes after halftime, Wesley Sneijder gave his team the lead. Just like last Sunday, both Hedwiges Maduro and Angelos Charisteas made it happen. Maduro came forward and passsed it to Charisteas who again found Maduro after a fine move. The young midfielder struck, but hit the post. Sneijder was in good position to fire in the rebound:0-1.

ADO pressed on for the equaliser and brought on a forward for a midfielder. Almost, Stoeve helped his side draw level, but his shot was blocked by Julien Escudé, who played a good match. Ajax countered through Charisteas. The Greek went by 'keeper De Vries but could not give the ball any power and he hurt himself in the attempt. In the final minute, ADO had a huge chance. Heitinga wanted to let the ball run over the end line, but the snow slowed it down and Edson kept it in and passed it in front of the goal. There was a scrimmage before Stekelenburg's goal and finally Smith shot it. He missed and the Ajax defence played it very well. Babel, who replaced Charisteas, set it up and found Rosales. The Argentinian winger decided the cup match: 0-2.

,,That was liberating”, coach Ruud Krol said, ,,In the first half, ADO were better. They knew better how to deal with the pitch. But in the second half, we recovered. The Maxwell-Obodai chance quickly resulted in a goal for us. From then, we had it easier. ADO had some chances, but we scored the 0-2 and that is a good result.''