Ajax clinches Dutch championship
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Ajax won its third straight Dutch league championship in style on Sunday, trouncing Willem II Tilburg 5-0 on goals from five different players.
It is Ajax’s 32nd Eredivisie title and guarantees the Amsterdam club a spot in the Champions League next season. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson headed in the first goal in the 12th minute and, when Christian Eriksen scored the second before halftime, fans began to celebrate in the stands, singing “stand for the champion.”
The onslaught continued in the second half, with goals from Viktor Fischer, captain Siem de Jong and Danny Hoesen to finish the rout.
“We felt the pressure of the championship today, we played very nervously in the beginning,” De Jong said. “I’m glad we finished the game the way we did.”
The loss means Tilburg will be relegated.
“We deserve to be champion,” Ajax coach Frank de Boer said. “I think that we were the most consistent and showed we play the best football.”
With three straight titles in his first three years, De Boer has tied the record for successive wins set by Louis van Gaal in 1994-96 and Rinus Michels in 1966-68. Since World War II, only Guus Hiddink has accomplished the same feat, with PSV in 1987-89.
“That’s a really nice list,” said De Boer, who has built a winning squad without over-reliance on any one player. Midfielder De Jong was the club’s top scorer with 12.
By comparison, Vitesse’s Wilfried Bony has 31 goals — but Vitesse has struggled whenever Bony hasn’t played and is in fourth place. It lost 3-2 at RKC Waalwijk on Sunday.
In other matches Sunday, second-place PSV beat NEC Nijmegen 4-2 in Eindhoven and third-place Feyenoord lost 2-0 at ADO Den Haag.
With a three-point lead on Feyenoord and a massively better goal difference, PSV is virtually assured of a spot in Champions League qualifying, while Feyenoord and Vitesse are headed for the Europa Cup next season.