After the exit in the UEFA Cup, Ajax also lost the lead in the Dutch league. Sparta held Henk ten Cate's team to a 2-2 draw in Rotterdam. Siem de Jong saved a point for Ajax by scoring his first goal in the last minute.
The goal by league first-timer De Jong was the high point in another subpar match for Ajax. The Young Ajax player had come on for Luis Suarez in the closing stages and saw the ball land right at his feet after a corner kick. ,,I shot without thinking”, he said after the match. ,,The coach told me to play close to the goal on the left side.” A good move by Henk ten Cate. ,,I felt that Siem would score'', the coach said about his substitution.
Ajax did not begin well. The home side had the first chances. Former Ajax player Nourdin Boukhari had a good chance after ten minutes, but he aimed a little too high. At the end of the first half, Ajax started playing a little better. Dennis Rommedahl had a good chance to give his team the lead right before halftime when he chose to pass the ball instead of trying himself, giving the defence the chance to clear.
The 1-0 came after a offensive rush by Jaap Stam. The captain ran with the ball toward the Sparta goal, but was stopped there. From the resulting counter attack Charles Dissels scored. Klaas Jan Huntelaar made it 1-1 in the 67th minute, when he volleyed in a cross by Suarez. It was the ninth league goal for Huntelaar. But although the 'golden duo' struck again, Ten Cate was not pleased with his two super strikers. ,,Too often they went for their own success”, the coach said.
Soon after Ismael Urzaiz (who replaced Robbert Schilder) hit the crossbar, Sepp de Roover gave Sparta the lead back. He moved past Heitinga and struck: 2-2. Ajax played all or nothing afte that and thanks to De Jong came alongside in the last minute.
Feyenoord defeated Vitesse on Sunday and took over the first place in the league table. Ajax are in second place, one point behind Feyenoord.