Friday, February 25, 2005

Auxerre - Ajax, UEFA Cup and Ronald Koeman

Yesterday I put on the telly and Eurosport announced that they will be sending out the UEFA Cup match live between AJ Auxerre and AJAX. Woohoo!!! It's not every week I get to see an Ajax match live on the telly here.

So I made dinner quickly, had some beers and watched the game. Ajax had a 1-0 advantage from the home leg but are missing some players for this game. Tomas Galasek, Steven Pienaar and Zdenek Grygera are all out with injuries. Rafael van der Vaart is ill and Wednesday morning Rasmus Lindgren woke up ill as well. So that's the essence of the midfield out.

Ajax didn't start well and was basically inviting Auxerre to attack. After 30 minutes Auxerre got the goal they were looking for. Before that Stekelenburg did some excellent saves to keep his goal empty. Seven minutes later Ryan Babel (remember this name) equalised with a nice shot on goal. 1-1 at half-time and it looked like Ajax is going through.

Then the second half started and Auxerre began attacking. And instead of holding posession, Ajax just hooved everything away, which was more of an invitation for Auxerre to attack. And Anthony Obodai was just giving the ball away each time he touched it. The guy can't even make a simple pass to his teammate. I don't know what he was doing out on the field. Auxerre got the second goal and then came running out for the third goal.

Five minutes before time, Ronald Koeman decided to make a substitution. He's taking out Obodai (finally!!! about 40 minutes too late) and putting in debutant Hedwiges Maduro (remember that name). Unfortunately he did it while Ajax was defending a corner. So Auxerre took the corner while Maduro was still running towards the box and *boom* the third goal for Auxerre. Ajax was out. Koeman made the simplest mistake, never make a substitution when defending a corner.

It was hard for me to see Ajax lose against Auxerre like that. Some players played well (Stekelenburg, Trabelsi, Babel) but this was a long way from the Ajax I saw three years ago in the Champions League.

And today came the news that Ajax and Ronald Koeman have parted ways. I wasn't surprised although I wished they should do it at the end of the season. But football is a hard game and Koeman hasn't done much with this pool of talented players. In the space of three years there isn't a hint of development within the team. A coach should make a team play better, not be stuck at the same level.

I don't know who will replace him. The ideal one is already the coach of the Dutch team, so we'll have to do with somebody else. We'll see.

"Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we're coming from Amsterdam, Que sera sera."


Post a Comment

<< Home