Bad first half costs Ajax two points

Bad first half costs Ajax two points

Ajax dropped two costly points in the race for the league title on Sunday. Adrie Koster's squad drew 1-1 at NEC. ,,The first half was below par for us”, the coach said.

Because PSV also drew against one of the botom teams, VVV, on Sunday, there wasn't too much damage for Ajax, who are still in second place. But considering PSV's result, Adrie Koster could hardly be happy with his own team's draw. ,,We began way too softly'', the coach said. ,,And I don't know why. I thought that wouldn't happen to us again, after the loss against NAC. But we did. Too many players stayed below their level.”

Ajax faced an early deficit. After fifteen minutes, Jeremain Lens fired the ball hard past Maarten Stekelenburg. After that, the best chances were still for NEC. Only in added time of the first half Ajax created something. Luis Suarez fired from close range and Kennedy shot the ball just wide.

Koster changed tactics at halftime, playing with only three defenders in the second half. Siem de Jong replaced George Ogararu at right back and Dennis Rommedahl came on for Kennedy. The substitutions at least made the match more attractive. Both teams had good chances in the second half. Goalkeepers Babos for NEC and Stekelenburg for Ajax both made good saves.

When Koster replaced Edgar Davids with Leonardo, Ajax went on full attack in the final 25 minutes. It brought the visitors the equaliser in the 74th minute. Krisztian Vadocz lost the ball to Perez and the Dane touched it to Huntelaar, who ran through and scored. Luis Suarez even seemed to give Ajax a late win, but his goal was disallowed for offside. The last ten minutes were tense, but brought no winner. ,,In the second half we looked a lot better”, said Koster. ,,We even had chances to win it, but so did NEC.”