Ajax too strong for NAC
Judging on the result, Ajax did well to handily defeat NAC in the ArenA on Friday: 3-0. But coach Marco van Basten was not entirely satisfied afterwards. His complaints did not concern the result, but the way it came to be.
Ajax defeated NAC Breda for a change. After the lowlights of the 2007-2008 season, in which NAC were too strong for Ajax on two occasions (in the league match in the ArenA and in the Cup), Dario Cvitanich, Luis Suarez and Rasmus Lindgren guided Ajax into safe haven this time: 3-0.
But Van Basten was still critical of his team. ,,We had a lucky night’’, Van Basten said. ,,Our start was very weak. But the opening goal by Cvitanich gave us some more confidence. Before that we were struggling.’’
After NAC's Anthony Lurling had missed a big chance, Dario Cvitanich scored his first goal for Ajax 1. The forward from Argentina not only injected his team with much-needed spirit; the goal must also have had a liberating effect on himself. Cvitanich showed on occasion why he is considered to be the successor to Klaas Jan Huntelaar as Ajax's striker. ,,I am pleased with my play. It is always important to score, also because it gives you confidence’’, said Cvitanich. It is not easy to succeed Klaas Jan Huntelaar, he also realised. ,,He is a great player and a great goal scorer. Klaas Jan Huntelaar is irreplaceable.’’
,,He is always busy’’, Van Basten said about his new centre forward. ,,A couple of times he lost the ball, but other times he protected it well and he was a good target. He even made a second goal, but unfortunately it was disallowed. At the end of the day he derves it to play striker.’’
Siem de Jong was a surprise as a starter in midfield. Ten minutes into the second half, he was responsible for the breaking point of the match.He moved through the NAC defence on the end line and was fouled by Kees Kwakman in the box. Kwakman received his second yellow card and Ajax were awarded a penalty. After Luis Suarez had converted the spot kick, NAC were finished. Captain Rasmus Lindgren put his team up even further when he struck from distance. Later, Cvitanich's header was disallowed and Suarez shot a free kick against the crossbar.
,,The red card helped us. With a player more and up 2-0, we were no longer in trouble’’, Van Basten said. ,,Yet we did not finish the match properly. We did not give the crowd what they deserved, and we did not do enough to gain more confidence. What helps best is to keep playing sound football and do smart things on the pitch.’’
But after explaining what went wrong, Van Basten also mentioned the positive points of the evening. Ajax did not suffer any physical damage and the team did not see any yellow cards either. Striking three times against the team that led the league some weeks ago, can also be seen as a positive. ,,All in all, I am happy with this 3-0 win’’, Van Basten said.