- Associated Press - Sunday, April 27, 2014

AMSTERDAM (AP) - Ajax has won its 33rd Dutch league title - and the fourth straight - after drawing at Heracles Almelo 1-1 Sunday.

Lasse Schone put Ajax ahead with a free kick after 13 minutes. Almelo’s Simon Cziommer equalized 10 minutes later, also through a free kick, as an out-of-form Ajax settled for the draw.

Last week Ajax lost the Dutch Cup final in a humiliating 5-1 defeat against PEC Zwolle.

Other Dutch teams have won four straight championships, including PSV Eindhoven twice - but the 43-year-old Frank de Boer becomes the first coach to win four in a row.

The club’s achievement was all the more remarkable after Ajax had slipped to sixth place early in the season, and saw many of its best player either depart - such as Christian Eriksen to Tottenham and Toby Alderweireld to Atletico Madrid - or injured, such as skipper Siem de Jong.

De Boer relied heavily on young talent on his way to the title, notably 21-year-old midfielder Davy Klaassen, fresh out of Ajax’s youth academy and already on the national team roster.

“Every year we try to put together a team, and we’ve done it again … I’m proud,” De Boer said.

“It wasn’t the prettiest match, and either team could have won, but in the end you have to be the best over a whole season,” De Boer said.

He noted that while Ajax at times failed to beat poor teams, it played its best against the top contenders, beating Feyenoord, PSV and FC Twente.

“They were all direct competitors,” he said. “Then you’ve earned it yourself.”

Feyenoord claimed second place and a berth in Champions League qualifying in style, beating SC Cambuur 5-1 in Rotterdam. Third place FC Twente will play in the Europa League after another big win, 5-2 at NEC Nijmegen. Other slots in the Europa League will not be determined until the final round of play next week.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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