With three draws and one close defeat against AZ Alkmaar this season, Ajax got over the hump by walloping AZ to gain entry into the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. The vanquished will have to settle on the UEFA Cup, while the victors now join PSV Eindhoven as Holland's entrants in Europe's biggest show. Hopefully, they can make a bigger splash than they did this season.
AZ, this season's bride's maid, finished third behind champions PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie and lost to Ajax in a penalty shootout in the cup final. Louis van Gaal will now go on a shortlist for the job at Manchester City. Claudio Ranieri seems to be the favorite in a group that also includes Sevilla's Juande Ramos. Of course, much depends on the sale of the club to former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Ajax earn a Champions League place [CNN]
Ranieri eager to manage for Thaksin [Bangkok Post]