Thanks to a strong second half, Ajax beat Roda JC, 4-0, on Wednesday. After halftime, Luis Suarez led Ajax by the hand, scoring all four goals himself (among which, two penalty kicks), nicely padding the top scorer’s goal average.
Luis Suarez hadn’t scored in competition play since December 11th, against NEC. After scoring 18 goals, among others against RKC (3) and VVV (4), he went through a dry spell against NAC, AZ and Feyenoord. But with four goals against Roda, he wiped the slate clean, erasing the memory of those scoreless games. Above all, he helped Ajax to a generous victory, after a first half that saw them struggle with their guests. “Roda owned the first twenty minutes”, said Ajax coach Martin Jol afterwards.
The pleasure and relief were palpable when Suarez’ penalty kick (yellow card for De Fauw) went past keeper Tyton. After four hours of scoreless competition play, the Eredivisie’s top scorer was back. An important moment for both Suarez and Ajax, whose players Sulejmani and Aissati were both left on the bench once again. Until the goal, the game wasn’t going especially smoothly for Ajax. There were opportunities before half time, but either luck or killer instinct seemed to be missing. Especially for Ajax’s captain, who came close three times, but found either De Fauw, or Tyton in his way. Jol: “We struggled with their playing style. Fortunately, we were quite a bit more dynamic and aggressive during the second half.”
Thirteen minutes after the first goal, the same penalty scenario repeated itself in the visitors’ penalty area. Where De Fauw had caused Suarez’ penalty kick earlier, the Belgian once again interfered with an Ajax player’s passage in the 67th minute. His foul on Siem de Jong was punished with a yellow card, and penalty shot. The referee’s decision was provocative, with both players and bench of the Limburgers. Assistant coach René Trost lost his cool against the referee. After some shoving and harsh words, referee Nijhuis sent the assistant to the stands, leading to a fresh burst of outrage. Suarez kept his cool throughout, and scored on his second penalty kick of the evening, this time against ten Roda players: 2-0.
Fifteen minutes later, things were coming together. After Suarez’ third goal (a fine one, on a pass from Pantelic), the crowd started chanting “Suk, Suk, Suk”. As the Korean stood ready at the sidelines, Ajax’s captain scored his third goal of the evening.
In the aftermath of the third goal, Suk made his entry onto the ArenA field, to loud cheers from the crowd. It was a unique moment in the eightieth minute of the duel, which at that point, was as good as over. Five months after the Korean forward simply showed up at the stadium’s door, he made his debut with Ajax 1. Jol kept him on the bench against AZ and NEC (Cup match), and last Sunday he was even relegated to the stands against Feyenoord. But he got his chance on Wednesday. Ten historic minutes marked his journey which started a few months ago, when he asked in good faith if he could train with the team. The Korean youth international earned a training internship, and finally a contract with Ajax as of January 1.
During his first minutes on field, Suk cheered on with the rest after the fourth Ajax goal. Suarez took credit for this one too, his 22nd in the Eredivisie. And the Uruguayan, free of yellow cards, can play against FC Twente on Sunday.