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Ajax thrash Tilburg 5-0 to complete title hat trick De Boer joins greats

ROTTERDAM, May 5, (RTRS): Ajax Amsterdam clinched their 32nd Dutch soccer league title on Sunday after first-half goals by Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Christian Eriksen set up a comfortable 5-0 home win over bottom side Willem II Tilburg. With one match remaining, Ajax have 73 points, four more then PSV Eindhoven who stayed on track for a Champions League qualifying berth with a 4-2 win over NEC Nijmegen. Tilburg were relegated after suffering their 21st defeat. Iceland’s Sigthorsson opened the scoring after 12 minutes with a well-executed diving header following a fine cross from Ryan Babel. A blunder from Tilburg keeper David Meul, who let a long drive from Eriksen slip through his hands, allowed Ajax to double the lead after 25 minutes.

Viktor Fischer, Siem de Jong and Danny Hoesen scored after the interval as the capacity home crowd of 50,000 celebrated. “A good result for a championship match though we should have rewarded ourselves earlier as the chances were there already in the first half,” said Ajax coach Frank de Boer. “We deserved this title despite the fact that we dropped points but we showed the most consistency and also played the best football.” After a third straight crown Ajax will now want to focus on winning the Champions League, but fear they could lose players such as De Jong, Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld to foreign clubs. “This feels great but it would be perfect if this team sticks together for another year so we can try to survive the (Champions League) group stage,” said left back Daley Blind, who signed a three-year deal last month.

PSV virtually secured a spot in the Champions League preliminary round when they cruised to victory over NEC Nijmegen to lift their total of goals scored to 102. The win put them three points clear of Feyenoord who suffered a humiliating 2-0 defeat at ADO Den Haag. Feyenoord can still pull level on points with Dick Advocaat’s team but a far inferior goal difference will make it impossible to leapfrog them. Meanwhile, Ajax Amsterdam’s Frank de Boer earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as coaching greats Rinus Michels and Louis van Gaal when he won this third consecutive Dutch title on Sunday. “It is fantastic to be named with such legendary coaches at my age,” the 42-year-old De Boer said in weekly magazine Voetbal International. “Especially because I consider Ajax as my club and it gives me pride to have my contribution to these new successes.”

De Boer, who took over from Martin Jol in December 2010, still has some way to go to match the achievements of Michels and Van Gaal. Michels’ title hat-trick was a stepping stone for a team that went on to dominate Europe in the early 1970s, with three straight European Cups from 1971. Van Gaal also tasted European success by winning the UEFA Cup in 1992 followed by the 1995 Champions League. De Boer’s achievements are likely to have caught the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, but he sees his near future in Amsterdam. “I heard about it but the only one who directly approached me was Liverpool,” said De Boer, who won five Dutch and one La Liga title as player. “When they called I requested a day to think about it but I knew already that I did not want leave Ajax at this moment. “Liverpool is a great club where I could work well with my vision but I am not ready to take that step.”

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