Unfortunately, last weekend and following days have proven a letdown for Ajax. Not just with the first team squad drawing against Groningen, and effectively dropping the gauntlet on a unique opportunity to upstage Feyenoord, but also the U19’s dropping points in the league and (more importantly) losing out against Real Madrid in the Youth League quarter finals. The beauty of youth football, though; there were also positives to take into account.
One of those was Adbelhak Nouri. The young midfielder played an instrumental role in Jong Ajax’ win over Oss, away in Oss. A strong line-up set the tone from the get-go in Oss, as Keizer’s boys took control and bossed the opposition around. In the first 15 minutes, the aforementioned Nouri made himself heard and calmly lobbed the ball into Oss’ goal after a one-two with winger Vaclav Cerny (who’s on a steady comeback after an injury).
After the opener, the home side tried to claw it’s way back into the game and succeeded in gaining some control back. Former youth striker Tom Boere got a chance to equalise but Norbert Ablas and Lartey Sanniez were able to keep Jong Ajax in the lead. Not much later, that lead was doubled. Some interplay between Justin Kluivert and Donny van de Beek provided Matteo Cassierra with a chance, whom calmly slotted it home in the far corner to give Ajax a 0-2 lead at half time.
The second half began with some more chances for Jong Ajax, as Kluivert, Nouri and Cerny all got chances to increase the difference. At the other end, Oss also got their chances but Ablas continuously managed to keep his clean sheet. Nouri then showed himself again, as he brilliantly played Tete into contention; leaving the right full-back to tap it into the back of the net for the 0-3.
The U19’s had a rather disappointed Saturday, in keeping with the senior squad, by drawing 1-1 against AZ. Sierhuis was dangerous at the start of the game, getting some little chances, but eventually only scored from a penalty kick. AZ then struck back after half time, profiting from a foul on De Lange to force a draw.
In Den Haag, the U17’s gave away a real show as they beat ADO with 1-9. The game featured a hattrick by Daishawn Redan (whom is linked with a move to Leipzig) and Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, as well as goals from Aberkane, Botman and Margaret.
The game of the weak as played Tuesday afternoon though, as the U19’s featured in the quarter finals of the UEFA Youth League; facing off against Real Madrid in Madrid. With talent Justin Kluivert in the line-up, Ajax started out very average against their Spanish counterparts. One minute in, Dani Gomez got a big chance but goalkeeper Van Bladeren managed to keep it out. The tone was set.
One chance by Ajax was followed by another for Madrid and within five minutes, Dani Gomez put the home side up 1-0. Up till the 30th minute, Los Blancos kept their control over the game but didn’t create any real chances. Then it was Ajax’ turn, as Kluivert turned on the style and provided some crosses for Sierhuis. Unfortunately, the forward wasn’t able to score from them and Ajax went into the dressing room with a deficit after 45 minutes.
In the second half, Madrid continued where it had left off, pounding at Stan van Bladeren with some good chances. They didn’t manage to increase their lead though, and were made to pay fifteen minutes in, as Noa Lang volley’d home a great free kick from Justin Kluivert to equalise.
Ajax then looked to push on and nearly did, but Kluivert and Bakker both failed to find the back of the net. Then, 75 minutes into the game, Dani de Wit undid everything he teammates had done all game by making a clear hand ball in the box. A penalty kick followed, which was calmly slotted home and left Ajax in the wake of another quarter final exit in the Youth League.
A real letdown.