Ajax went on to the fourth round of the Dutch FA Cup. The home team was too strong for sc Heerenveen in the own ArenA: 3-1. ,,We deserved this”, coach Adrie Koster said after the match.
Earlier this season Ajax and Heerenveen faced off in the ArenA too, for the league. Of the players who won by 4-1 on 26 August, only John Heitinga, Hedwiges Maduro, Luis Suarez and Klaas Jan Huntelaar were in the starting lineup this time. But although the team had seen many changes (because of injuries and the early retirement of Jaap Stam), the victory was just as convincing. ,,We deserved to win this”, said Koster, who of course was also absent in the previous edition.
Ajax started strong before 18,724 spectators. After chances for Luis Suarez and Maduro, the home side scored after seven minutes. Heerenveen's goalkeeper Vandenbussche released a free kick by Klaas Jan Huntelaar and John Heitinga was the first one there to put the ball in the net. After 28 minutes Ajax scored again. Hedwiges Maduro headed in the ball from a good free kick from the right by Albert Luque. For the midfielder it was his 100th match and tenth goal for Ajax. Heerenveen had few answers to Ajax's force. Afonso Alves was shut down brilliantly by Gregory van der Wiel. The young defender played an excellent match and seemed very unimpressed by the Brazilian. ,,I knew who I was facing and I had prepared for it”, said Van der Wiel.
Afte the 2-0, Ajax had some more chances to score again in the first half, but Luque and Heitinga lacked some luck with their finishing. Right after halftime, Heerenveen came on stronger, but it resulted in no more than a shot by Pranjic against the post. After 67 minutes, Klaas Jan Huntelaar ended Heerenveen's last hopes. Substitute Dennis Rommedahl provided the perfect cross from the left and Huntelaar made it 3-0 with a good shot. Michael Bradley scored quickly after that to make it 3-1, but Ajax were not shaken. Heerenveen were through and were probably happy that it stayed 3-1. Ajax had chance after chance, but the finishing left something to be desired. ,,Some points of attention", Koster said. ,,But I am very pleased with this win, also because Heerenveen have been playing well lately.”