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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 2 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Feb 16, 2012

De Boer looks for turning point

Coach Frank de Boer hopes Ajax can get back on track after their recent struggles.

Saturday's 2-0 away win against NAC Breda ended a run of four games without a win, including a 4-2 defeat at arch-rivals Feyenoord and a 3-2 home loss in the KNVB Cup to AZ Alkmaar.

That run has seen Ajax drop to sixth in the league, eight points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven, and they cannot afford any further slip-ups as they welcome NEC Nijmegen to the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday.

Those on-field problems have been overshadowed by boardroom strife which has not helped de Boer, but he was boosted by the win over NAC.

De Boer told Ajax's official website: "I'm satisfied with the display and of course with the win. We really needed this. Let's hope that we've found our way back to the top.''

Morocco international Ismail Aissati impressed as a replacement for the injured Eyong Enoh, and De Boer said: "He left a good impression in Breda. Aissati is a different type of player than Enoh, with Aissati you get a lot more football in midfield.''

PSV have only suffered one defeat since the opening day of the season and travel to FC Groningen, where they have not lost since December 2007 in the league and won 6-1 earlier this season.

While a slip-up would be a shock, the chasing pack are on hand to take advantage of any dropped points from the Eindhoven side, with Heerenveen the first in action as they welcome NAC to the Abe Lenstra Stadium on Friday evening.

The club announced this week that former Holland coach Marco Van Basten will take over from Ron Jans at the end of the season after the latter declined to renew his contract.

The ex-AC Milan and Holland striker said at the press conference to confirm his appointment: "Heerenveen is a great club with great potential. The feeling of both sides was good. There was mutual respect and trust.

"I will bring with me the experience I have gained working with the Dutch national team and at Ajax. I am wiser now than then.''

It will be Van Basten's first management position since leaving Ajax in 2009.

AZ, who are level on points with PSV, travel to FC Utrecht on Sunday while FC Twente, with a game in hand over all the teams above them, face Vitesse Arnhem.

Steve McClaren's return to Twente has brought about a mixed start, winning his first two Eredivisie matches comfortably but then succumbing to a 3-2 home defeat against Heracles Almelo.

Feyenoord look to have put their troubles of previous seasons behind them and are now looking like genuine title contenders, led by coach Ronald Koeman and the goals of Manchester City loanee John Guidetti.

The 19-year-old Swede hit his third hat-trick in five games at the weekend against Vitesse, taking his tally to an impressive 17 goals in 15 games, and the De Kuip side are looking for their fourth straight win at home to RKC Waalwijk.

Elsewhere, Heracles face Roda JC, ADO Den Haag are home to second-bottom Excelsior and rock-bottom De Graafschap look to go level with VVV-Venlo, who they host on Saturday.

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