Huntelaar scores four as Ajax rout Graafschap
DOETINCHEM, August 19 (Eredivisie) - Ajax started their Eredivisie campaign on the best possible note by handing a footballing lesson to top-flight new boys De Graafschap on Sunday.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was the star of the show with four goals for the Amsterdammers, who missed out on the Dutch title on goal difference to PSV Eindhoven on the last day of last season.
Luis Suarez, Hedwiges Maduro (two) and Kennedy Bakircioglu were also on the scoresheet for Henk ten Cate's team, while Donny de Groot notched a second-half consolation for the shell-shocked hosts.
The game got off to a slow start, with the Eredivisie newcomers fashioning the first chance in the 12th minute when Will Johnson saw his shot saved by Maarten Stekelenburg following Arnar Vidarsson's right-wing cross.
Bakircioglu tried his luck for Ajax midway through the first half but saw his free-kick tipped over the bar.
Huntelaar made it 1-0 after 36 minutes, heading home Luis Suarez's cross from close range.
Suarez doubled the advantage three minutes before the interval, breaking through the defence and playing a neat one-two with Huntelaar before slotting home.
The goals continued thick and fast after the interval.
Maduro made it 3-0 in the 55th minute, beating Jim van Fessem in a one-on-one situation, and then promptly added another four minutes later with a header following good work from Suarez on the left.
Bakircioglu's superb solo effort just after the hour mark gave Van Fessem no chance, and Huntelaar then notched his second by nodding home Garcia Gabri's cross.
There was some light relief for Jan de Jonge's team when De Groot reduced the arrears with a great volley following Vidarsson's pass.
Huntelaar completed his treble two minutes from time from the penalty spot after Van Fessem had felled Suarez, and there was still time for another with the Holland striker's head meeting a Dennis Rommedahl right-wing cross to round off an emphatic away win.
The victory marked a welcome return to form for Ajax following their midweek Champions League qualifying first-leg defeat to Slavia Prague.
Elsewhere, PSV struggled against Heracles but Ibrahim Afellay opened the scoring seven minutes before time and Mike Zonneveld sealed victory in stoppage time.
Utrecht goalkeeper Franck Grandel misjudged a 20 metre-strike from Luigi Bruins to hand Feyenoord the lead and on the hour Roy Makaay set up Nick Hofs to double the lead. Makaay added a third to finish 3-0 up.
Vitesse Arnhem completed a full set of away wins today with a 2-1 success at Sparta Rotterdam.