The comfort of an early goal did not help Ajax win three points against NAC Breda. Klaas Jan Huntelaar's goal after two minutes should have been the prelude to a big win against the lowly opponent. But after the 1-1 draw in the Amsterdam ArenA, there was nothing left to do but mourn the missed opportunity to solidify the fourth place in the league table.
Hardly 120 seconds had gone by when Ajax took a 1-0 lead. Mauro Rosales crossed and Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored with a backwards header.
A mere four days after the Cup thriller against Roda JC, NAC were considered a welcome opponent in the race for a spot among the first five. To reach the playoffs, lowly NAC would have to be defeated.
But despite the good start of the match, with more chances for Markus Rosenberg, Ajax could not enhance their lead. Rosenberg was unlucky with his second big chance, when he headed the ball against the post and it miraculously fell into the gloves of NAC goalkeeper Schollen.
,,Such a start is what you want in a home match'', said Danny Blind. ,,We should have pushed on in the first twenty minutes. There was enough room. Maybe we missed some power. With all the injuries in the past few weeks, I could only use a small group of players. On Wednesday, we played for 120 minutes against Roda JC. Maybe that's why we lacked the strength to go on.''
NAC gained hope from all the missed Ajax chances. The visitors had plenty of chances themselves after halftime. But the second half of the match could have looked different if Nourdin Boukhari would have scored from up close after five minutes, but he hit the goalkeeper's leg. A similar situation occurred 15 minutes later on the other side, when Julian Jenner came face to face with Maarten Stekelenburg and shot the ball against the goalie's body.
Before that, Leonardo had two good opportunities. The quick Brazilian created constant danger and Emmanuel Boakye, who played well when he replaced Hedwiges Maduro at halftime, had to save the ball on the goal line.
But ten minutes before the end, Stekelenburg was defeated after all. Former Ajax player David Mendes da Silva dribbled shortly and fired the ball rock hard high in the goal.
Blind brought on Angelos Charisteas in the closing minutes, but the Greek striker could not force a second Ajax goal. Earlier, Blind put in Robbert Schilder for Mauro Rosales. It was Schilder's second match for Ajax 1.
Tomás Galásek reached a milestone this Sunday. The Czech captain played his 150th league match for Ajax.