It vwas incredible dat Ajax got away with only one point from The Hague. After 30 minutes the team from Amsterdam was leading ADO Den Haag by 3-0. But instead of running away to a big margin, Ajax let the home side back into the match. with 3-3 as the result. It is worrying that the defence again operated carelessly. ,,But I do not only blame the defence, but the collective. So the midfield and the forwards too'', Ronald Koeman said.
Koeman already said it after the 1-1 draw at home against FC Utrecht: the defence should keep a clean sheet. Normally Ajax score more than their opponent. But with top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaving for Juventus, that would be harder. Wesley Sonck had to be the replacement striker and that would take some time to adjust. Yet the striker seemd to be ready against ADO Den Haag.
The Belgian forward made it 0-1 in the seventh minute when he struck from long distance. When Ajax, through goals by Steven Pienaar and Nourdin Boukhari in the 14th and 30th minute, ran away to 0-3, the away match against ADO seemed not so difficult anymore.
After all, what could happen? Ajax were the better team by far, even though the home side fouled at almost every occasion. Ajax are playing Juventus on Wednesday and ADO boss Adelaar had preached agression, so Ajax would have a tough afternoon. The referee would have to set the standards. The ref did not, but Ajax hardly seemed bothered. Until the penultimate minute of the first half. Cedric van der Gun made it 1-3, but still no worries. Koeman had halftime to get his team back on track.
Early in the second half Ajax had through Pienaar enough chances to regain a bigger margin. But it did not happen and ADO found themselves still alive. Van der Gun went down easily in the box and referee Haverkort bought the act. Sub Geert den Ouden converted the spot kick and thus threw the ideal Ajax scenario out the door.
No more freewheeling toward the end, knowing that the attention could already be on Juventus. Now the team had to do battle physically, as the technical advantage proved not enough.
Koeman tried it with latest siging Mauro Rosales for Tom de Mul. Later he brought on Anthony Obodai and Yannis Anastasiou. Rosales showed his tremendous skills, went by his opponent with ease and provided some quality crosses. Yet there was no-one to put them away.
Seven minutes from the end Ajax allowed their already eighth goal of the young season. Roy Stroeve headed the ball in from a free kick. Ajax had given away the 3-0 advantage.
,,What a disappointment”, said captain Rafael van der Vaart. ,,We should never have given it away. It's dramatic. It should never happen, but this is already the second time. Against Twente we got away with it (Ajax won 3-2, ed.), but now it cost us points. Unbelievable.”
Koeman was also very disappointed. ,,We don't have a team that can put a game on ice. We did not play smart today. Allowing three goals is very bad. For me, part of the game is to stop the other team from scoring. But we are too naïve. I don't blame only the defence, but the whole team, so midfield and offence too. Is our confidence dented for Wednesday? Maybe not. Maybe it has been good for us, but that will only be proven on Wednesday.''