Ronald Koeman wants to win the championship as soon as possible, but again his team dropped two points, this time in Nijmegen against NEC: 0-0. That means that, except if PSV lose points on the same day, Ajax cannot celebrate the title in the away match against Zwolle next week either. ,,This result is disappointing, but let's stay calm", Koeman declared afterwards.
The coach has a point. With three matches left to play in the season (Zwolle away, NAC at home and Willem II away) Ajax still lead PSV by six points. The team should be able to carry that margin over the finish line. But fact is that Ajax are struggling in the last four matches. ,,And against AZ and Feyenoord we gave away the victory in the final minutes", Koeman said.
Ajax especially have difficulties scoring lately. It was amazing that the match against NEC ended in 0-0, with both sides creating numerous opportunities in an attractive match. Zlatan Ibrahimovic could not connect on a series of chances, but the Swede was the most dangerous player for Ajax. ,,We played well in the first half", Ronald Koeman thought. ,,We had more chances and we should have scored."
In the second half the home team stepped up. ,,We were too restless and lost the ball too often", said Koeman. ,,Rafael van der Vaart played a bit deeper and there was too much room in midfield. The only one who could could cover all that space was Galásek. Therefore NEC remained dangerous in their counter attacks. Later in the second half Rafael went to left midfield and the balance returned in midfield and we controlled the match again."
Ajax could however not break the tie. Van der Vaart had a very good chance, but goalkeeper Gentenaar's save was outstanding. ,,Rafael is not very lucky'', the coach lamented. ,,It is a problem that we have such a hard time scoring."
Daniel de Ridder, who came on with Wesley Sonck for Steven Pienaar and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, almost became the matchwinner in the closing minutes. Ajax took a corner and the ball ended up before the winger's right foot. His shot was good but Simr headed it away on the goalline. Shortly after the final whistle sounded.
Ajax play at Zwolle next week and PSV at Volendam. If neither team drops points, Ajax can celebrate the title in the home match against NAC a week later.