Through a 7-1 victory over De Graafschap and PSV's loss at Feyenoord, Ajax have hopes of the championship again. Ajax played without the suspended Cristian Chivu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But since the Romanian captain was watching the match from the stands anyway, he gave the following match report to ajax.nl.
,,The idea before the match was to win. The three points were of great importance. We had to have them. But the start was bad. It's difficult to say why. Ajax were too relaxed, not agressive enough and were not marking closely enough. That was not only the defence's fault, so it wasn't the fact that there was a new central duo in defence with Yakubu and De Jong, the whole team was to blame.''
,,From a set play, really the only way De Graafschap could score in this match, they went up 1-0. Jason Culina took the corner, somebody headed it through and Van de Haar scored, 0-1. It didn't matter that Yakubu was elbowed first. That happens in football. Ajax were behind.''
,,There was no reason for panic. It was not the first time this season that Ajax were down this way. It was hardly a big disappointment. The team took it too lightly in the beginning, but there were almost 90 minutes left to play, so no great worries yet.''
,,After the 0-1, the first time Ajax were dangerous they scored. Rafael van der Vaart put in the equaliser after sixteen minutes. Yet it wasn't easy because De Graafschap defended well. Ajax failed to create chances. It was even quite boring to look at from the stands. But the most important thing that happened in the remainder of the first half, was Van der Vaart's second goal after a great set-up with Pienaar and Van der Meyde. Rafael got the ball from Steven, turned away and hit, 2-1. It was a crucial moment. The sense that Ajax would win, grew.''
,,In the second half Sikora came on for Litmanen. That change, just like the substitutions Witschge and Boukhari for Sneijder and Pienaar, paid off. It was still only 2-1, so Ajax had to stay concentrated. The team was visibly confident and did not have to take great risks. The third goal was a matter of time.''
,,That goal came in the 63rd minute. Wesley Sneijder scored the important goal from a pass by Pienaar. After that it became much easier. Ajax can be happy with the way they played after the 3-1. Everybody stayed focussed and tried to play their best match. It went well and Ajax ran away to 7-1. That was a fair result. Four minutes after the 3-1 Galasek scored from a penalty when Trabelsi was floored. Pienaar made it 5-1 and Maxwell and Boukhari completed the seven goals for Ajax.''
,,The crowd saw nice moves, good football and great goals today. But the beauty of the goals was not important today. Ajax had to win and because PSV lost, the players are hoping for the title again.''
Cristian Chivu can play again in the next match. His suspension will end, so we can no longer use his services for ajax.nl. Chivu: ,,I expect us to win away at Twente and to put the pressure on PSV. It's not all in our hands, however. Should PSV slip again, then we will be happy, but the most important thing for us is staying in second place so we can play in the Champions League again next season.