Ajax were given a lesson by Heerenveen on Wednesday: 4-1. The side from Amsterdam were never in the game in the second half, and they should be thankful that PSV lost at Heerenveen too on Saturday. Therefore the cushion between the two candidates for the title is still six points. But it could have been nine.
Ronald Koeman was optimistic before the match. ,,If we can stop their set pieces, we'll be allright. Technically we will have a solution.'' In the first half, he was right. ,,We were better than in the matches before. But agression and sharpness also count for the forwards'', Koeman said afterwards.
Yannis Anastasiou got a big chance in the first half. The striker, again picked ahead of Wesley Sonck, could not beat rookie-goalie Boy Waterman, a former Ajax player. Anastasiou's goal was disallowed for pushing.
Just before halftime, Heerenveen took the lead. Mika Väyrynen scored after a scrimmage during which the Ajax-defenders did nothing. The ball bounced itno Maarten Stekelenburg's goal from the inside of the post.
In the second half, things got worse and worse. Of all people, Richard Knopper, on loan from Ajax, fired from distance and scored. The ball went off the head of Ajax defender Julien Escudé. Koeman replaced Maxwell with Wesley Sonck. ,,I am not a big fan of playing one-on-one. And the way Heerenveen took advantage of the situation, you won't see many teams play like that'', Koeman stated.
Heerenveen's forwards kept breaking through Ajax's defence. In the 74th minute again Väyrynen defeated Stekelenburg and six minutes before the final whistle Jesper Hakansson shot the 4-0 against the back of the netting. Ajax came back to 4-1, but only because Petter Hansson put one past his own goalie Boy Waterman. It was Ajax's biggest defeat under coach Ronald Koeman and it was the third loss of the season. PSV are still on some distance, as they follow on six points behind.