Ajax had little trouble with Sparta (5-2) on Sunday, but the injury to captain Klaas Jan Huntelaar cast a shadow over the afternoon.
Huntelaar turned his ankle in the 36th minute and had to be taken off immediately. The captain will undergo an MRI scan on Monday to see what the damage is.
When Huntelaar went off, Ajax were up by 2-0. The striker had scored the first goal himself, in the 16th minute, from a fine cross by Kennedy, who started for the first time this season. Luis Suarez played well on the position behind the striker and drove the Sparta defence to dispair with his moves. He scored the second goal when he curled the ball into the goal from the edge of the box.
Evander Sno took Huntelaar's place and made it 3-0 in the 42nd minute, when Suarez headed on goal and Sno put away the rebound from goalkeeper Wapenaar's save.
Ajax were superior in the first half, also because a tactical move by Marco van Basten and his staff. Jan Vertonghen played as an extra midfielder and Thomas Vermaelen played left back. Ajax played one on one in the back. ,,We had a lot of difficulty with that”, Sparta coach Foeke Booy admitted.
In the 57th minute former Ajax player Rydell Poepon shot a free kick on goal. Kenneth Vermeer saved, but was beaten in the rebound by Joshua John. The goal came at an unlucky moment for Ajax, who were three minutes away from breaking their own record of 806 minutes without allowing a goal at home.
Ajax recovered and went up 4-1 when Kennedy headed in the ball after some great moves and a good cross by Suarez. Minutes before, Oleguer was taken off because he experienced dizziness. Robbert Schilder replaced him.
Leonardo, who had replaced Suarez, made it 5-1 from a pass by Sno. Yuri Rose scored a minute before the end to make it 5-2. ,,I am happy that we could give our home crowd five goals”, Van Basten said. ,,It had been a while since we scored that much.''
Ajax are still tied for first place with AZ and NAC. The three clubs have 22 points from 10 matches. AZ have the better goal difference.