After a quiet international break, all Ajax sides came out with guns blazing as goals dominated this weekend. Not only did the first team score a bunch of them against NEC, with former U19 striker Kasper Dolberg grabbing the headlines, but the youngsters at De Toekomst enjoyed their own successes.
On saturday, Ajax’ arguably most important team, the U19, kicked off for a match against PEC Zwolle. And it turned out to be quite a game. Within 3 minutes, striker Kaj Sierhuis was brought down by the PEC-goalie and awarded a penalty, which he calmly slotted home to open the scoring for Aron Winter’s side.
In the 6th minute, Zwolle got back into it with Rogier Benschop netting for the Blauwvingers. Not much later, though, Sierhuis showed his class by popping up for another goal. 2-1. In the 33rd minute, Franco Antonucci showed why his arrival from Anderlecht was met with such enthusiasm last summer. With a sublime touch, he set up Mees de Wit for the 3-1.
In the second half, Zian Flemming made it 4-1. Rogier Benschop then made another goal for Zwolle, with the away team trying their best to get a result. Those hopes were quickly ended though, when Mitchel Bakker tapped the ball into the back of the net in the 82nd minute to leave the full time score at 5-1.
The U17’s played away against Vitesse and grabbed a tightly contested 3-4 away win, thanks to goals by Daishawn Reden (2x), Sven Botman and Venitchio Sint. The U16’s beat FC Utrecht’s age-mates with a double from Dook de Vries, with new arrival Pynadath starting.
Jong Ajax completed the competition games of the weekend on monday evening, facing off against Jong FC Utrecht at the Galgenwaard. After a poor start in Utrecht, the youngsters, led by the suspended first team winger El Ghazi, fought themselves back into the game and earned a 2-2 draw.
Utrecht struck first, through Gyrano Kerk, after a strong start. This proved to be an extra incentive for Keizer’s boys, who began to play better and better as the first half progressed. Eventually, Anwar El Ghazi hit the back of the net with a sublime header to even things up.
As Ajax seized control of the game, Utrecht suddenly scored; Kris Peterson leaving Tim Krul without a chance on the goalies official Ajax debut. 2-1. After half time, Ajax came out more aggressive and it resulted in a few chances. Eventually, a thunderous strike from El Ghazi landed into the top corner to make it 2-2. In the finale minutes, the winger got his chances to get his side a win but he missed.
On Tuesday evening, the biggest game of the week was played at De Toekomst. The U19’s hosted PAOK in the UEFA Youth League, with a qualification next round at stake. After a 0-2 away win, the home side were in the driving seat and it showed. Ajax eventually ended up victorious, thanks to a double by goalscoring prodigy Kaj Sierhuis, and subsequently qualified for European football after the January break.