Ajax booked their coveted first away win in the league of the season. Heracles Almelo were defeated in the Polman Stadium: 1-3. But the side needed some luck.
Ajax were certainly not unlucky. With the score 1-1, Ricky van den Bergh, in de 58th and 67th minute, twice hit the crossbar from a free kick. If one of them had hit their target, the evening could have had a different ending. ,,That was fortunate”, Marco van Basten admitted. ,,But you need some good fortune sometimes.” Now Ajax were still in the game and ended up winning after two goals by Klaas Jan Huntelaar. ,,And with that we are very happy", Van Basten said.
Ajax began without Gabri. Van Basten had chosen a midfield with Jan Vertonghen, Rasmus Lindgren and Siem de Jong. In the back Van Basten had Gregory van der Wiel and Oleguer change position, with the Spaniard now as right back and Van der Wiel as central defender. In this lineup, Ajax started well. Luis Suarez headed in a free kick by Urby Emanuelson after only two minutes. But the side could not push through after the early goal. Ajax had some more chances, but Heracles got more and more grip and pushed Ajax back. The home side equalised after 29 minutes, when Ajax could not clear the ball and Jan Wuytens struck from the edge of the box.
Halfway, Gabri came on after all, to provide some more healthy aggression in midfield. He replaced Leonardo. Jan Vertonghen went to left back and Emanuelson had to take care of the left flank. The change worked, but the best chances were still for Heracles. Ajax breathed a sigh of relief when Van den Bergh hit the crossbar twice. ,,In that phase, we were outplayed”, said Van Basten. ,,But luckily we caught a break this time.”
Evander Sno replaced De Jong fifteen minutes before the end. ,,We wanted to have some more ball control”, Van Basten explained. It was a good move and Ajax regained the lead almost immediately. Suarez found a gap and touched the ball to Huntelaar, who scored from close range. After the goal there was an incident in which Van den Bergh was shown a red card after he had hit Suarez. The latter was given a yellow card and he will miss Saturday's match against Twente.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar put the game away when, from a good touch by Sno, he scored with a lob over Pieckenhagen. It was his fifth goal of the season.
Ajax are now in fifth place, two points behind new league leaders AZ.