Jong Ajax advance to UEFA Youth League quarter finals

Buzzing. That’s the word on the pitch for this week. Where Davy Klaassen was booming and buzzing against Vitesse this past weekend, Frenkie de Jong lit it up with Jong Ajax and the U17’s made their way past PSV. Last but not least, the weekend was topped with a cherry by the U19’s, progressing to the quarter finals of the youth league through an electric performance against Dynamo Kiev.

The weekend started with Jong Ajax, on Friday evening, whom had an away game at Achilles ’29. Keizer’s youngsters started out quietly in Groesbeek, which resulted in the opener for the home side in the 13th minute. The lead didn’t last long though, as Walian made his first goal in professional football 10 minutes later.

After the equaliser, Jong Ajax had Achilles on the ropes and dominated the game. Frenkie de Jong and Noussair Mazraoui were stand-outs, as Ajax’ plays started ticking. It eventually resulted in the lead, as Kaj Sierhuis netted his 2nd goal at senior level to make it 1-2.

In the second half, Keizer got his players to continue where they left off; combining easily and creating lots of chances. Sierhuis eventually scored his second of the night, from an intelligent pass by De Jong, to make it 1-3 and kill the game off. Versteegen pulled one back for the home side in the 68th minute, prompting the Groesbekers to put in a final offensive. The actual decider proved to be Kortstam’s red card though, rendering Achilles toothless in the remainder of the game and delivering Jong Ajax a win.

On saturday, the U17’s lined up against PSV in a real clash of titans. In the 25 minute, a diverted cross from Jurgen Ekkelenkamp led to the opening goal, ending up in the far corner behind the PSV goalkeeper. PSV fought back though, resulting in a quick equaliser by Koen Oostenbrink to make it 1-1 at half time.

In the second half, Ekkelenkamp pushed on from midfield and scored his second goal (2-1) with a clean header from a cross by Daishawn Redan. PSV clawed back yet again though, making it 2-2, before completely losing control of the game. With two goals in 2 minutes, one from a penalty and another from a flaming shot, Redan ripped PSV apart and gave Ajax a 4-2 lead. Laim van Gelderen scored the final goal, sliding a free kick from Aberkane into the back of the net, putting a 5-2 victory on the scoreboard.

On Tuesday evening, the U19’s served up the main course for the week; the UEFA Youth League came to De Toekomst once more as Ajax played Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 of the tournament. It proved to be an energetic evening, with the Ajax youngsters showing some impressive flashes of brilliance along their way to the final.

Dynamo actually started out better than Ajax in the game, creating some chances and even forcing Stan van Blaaderen into a save early on in the game. After those first few scares, Ajax were in control though. The midfield came into their own and started finding spaces behind the Ukrainian backline, which was posted up far away from their own goal and left a huge space for the lads to operate in. It eventually resulted in Sierhuis’ opener, as he managed to tap the ball home from a quick break, making it a 1-0 lead into half time.

After the tea break, Ajax kept pressuring their opponents and forcing them to make mistakes in possession. A cross into the box found Dani de Wit wide open, his header hitting the back of the net to double the lead. In the dying minutes of the game, Ajax even managed to increase the lead even further; perennial first-team winger Justin Kluivert provided a beautiful passĀ for Che Nunnely, whom in turn found Sierhuis and the striker made it 3-0.

Depending on the result between Monaco and Real Madrid, Ajax will play the winner of that clash on the 7th or 8th of March.