Klaas Jan Huntelaar resumed a familiar role in the away match at ADO Den Haag: he was the matchwinner for Ajax. In The Hague, Ajax won the always difficult game by 1-2.
Ajax’s final match in the Zuiderpark stadium, ADO will play in a brand new venue next season, was a gritty football fight for the first 45 minutes. On the wet and soggy pitch, Ajax had a slow start, apart from the chance for striker Ryan Babel after only 40 seconds. Goalkeeper Richard van Nieuwkoop managed to save the attempt by Babel and prevented a jump start by the visitors.
After that, ADO had the least problems with the difficult pitch and took the lead after twenty minutes when Santi Kolk lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who was far outside of his box: 1-0. It took Ajax until the second half Ajax to find the proper response. ,,Under the circumstances, we played a reasonable first half’’, said coach Henk ten Cate. ,,One mistake in the back was immedetiately punished. In the end, we made it too difficult on ourselves, because we had chances to decide the match sooner. We lacked a bit of luck.’’
An error by ADO goalkeeper Van Nieuwkoop provided Ajax the chance to come alongside after almost an hour. The young goalkeeper dropped a corner kick by Wesley Sneijder, and John Heitinga had no trouble putting it away: 1-1.
In the end, it was Klaas Jan Huntelaar (who came on for Tom de Mul in the 58th minute) who helped Ajax past ADO. This time, Van Nieuwkoop could not be blamed; the striker's shot was touched and changed direction on its way to the goal: 1-2. Nearly a year earlier Huntelaar also scored the winning goal in The Hague, when he fired in the 1-2 from great distance. This time his teammate Edgar Davids provided the assist with a back-heel pass.
,,We got an unnecessarily difficult win today’’, said Ten Cate. ,,But an away match at ADO is alway difficult for Ajax. This win gives us a good feeling for Wednesday's match against Werder Bremen.''
The victory in The Hague brought Ajax closer to PSV. The league leaders drew at Sparta on Sunday (1-1) and the difference between the two teams is now only three points.