It’s a difficult time to be an Ajax supporter. Unrest amongst fans is growing skyhigh, following a very disappointing European campaign (cut short by an elimination against Rosenborg in silly fashion) and an extremely rough start in the league. The points are not the only thing we’ve lost compared to last season but the style of play also seems completely disrupted. Gone are the days where quick, attacking and fluent inter-play led to goalscoring chances. Back are the days of slow, endless build-up, with the ball being passed between defenders; ultimately leading into a stray ball forward. Luckily, we still have our youth sides, which have been outperforming the senior squad by a mile!
On Saturday, the U17’s kicked off the football day at De Toekomst. SC Heerenveen came over all the way from Friesland, to face off against Gery Vink’s vastly talented side. Within 15 minutes after the opening whistle, Ajax were rewarded for their aggressive start with a penalty kick. Up stepped Sontje Hansen and the young goalgrabbing forward netted the 1-0 in a calm and collected fashion. A few minutes later, Zamani missed the chance to double the score, shooting himself instead of playing it into the wide open Hansen.
After half time, Ajax remained very sloppy at finishing their chances. Despite getting a huge load of chances, with Brobbey, Hansen and Ben Salam all having a chance to score, Heerenveen’s goalkeeper managed to keep the ball out of his net. Due to the visiting side having a very weak performance going forward, the missed chances were eventually not rued and Ajax won 1-0.
Later on the day, Heitinga’s U19’s made a bus trip the other way around, visiting Heerenveen for their next league match. And what a great performance it would turn out to be. In the 4th minute of the game, newcomer Danilo Pereira hit the back of the net. A goal by Australian midfielder Pasquali followed a few minutes later and a quickfire double from Jurgen Ekkelenkamp sealed the deal at 0-4 before half time.
In the second half, the youngsters dropped back a bit, supposedly conserving their energy for their mid-week game against Hammarby in the Youth League. This left space for Heerenveen to work with and in the 52nd minute, John Irondale made the honorary goal for the Frysian side. Seconds later though, Danilo Pereira scored his second of the day to gift the U19’s a 1-5 away win.
Jong Ajax played Telstar in the Jupiler League on Monday, with newcomers Van Leer, Orejuela, Wöber and Johnsen all starting in the usual 11. Jong Ajax began quite hopeful, creating huge chances early on to open up the game through Dani de Wit. Johnsen and Mazraoui also got their shots in, which gave Telstar space to put a dangerous counter attack in. Following that chance, a sloppy period of play followed and the away side managed to grab the lead from a corner kick header.
Five minutes into the second half, Matteo Cassierra got a huge chance to equalise but he failed eye-to-eye with Telstar’s goalie. Chances that followed were few and far between, creating a difficult and slow-paced game. In the end, Reiziger did manage to turn the game upside down by forcing a goal through substitute Teun Bijleveld. In the final minutes of the game, Jong Ajax grew stronger, got some chances to win the game but failed to grab the 3 points despite all of it. The second time JA has lost points this season.
On Tuesday, European football was on the doorstep. Not for the senior side (which hurts, a lot), but the U19’s had their away game against Hammarby in Sweden on the fixture list. It proved to be a great game for Heitinga’s boys, as they wiped the Swedish side off the pitch and are one leg into the next round. After a slow start with little to no chances, Sierhuis got his moment for an opener but unfortunately failed to net it, resulting in a 0-0 at half time.
The second half proved to be far more attractive to watch though. Just 5 minutes in Jurgen Ekkelenkamp showed he had brought his goalscoring boots, scoring two goals in the space of a few minutes to gift Ajax a 0-2 lead. Following those goals, Hammarby’s defence was broken and Ajax went through it like a knife through butter. Nunnely made his move on the right wing and launched a glorious shot at goal, landing the 0-3. Just before the final whistle, Gravenberch performed a great dummy moves and subsequently scored the 4th of the night in an impressive 0-4 win.