It’s been a crazy week, with Ajax experiencing a long, drawn-out transfer saga in two instances. One involved Anwar El Ghazi moving to Lille, which kept on being delayed due to Ajax not having signed a replacement yet. Today, the last day of the transfer window, ended that one and the other saga, of David Neres, in typical last-minute fashion; as well as loading off unimpressive loanee Tim Krul and Mitchel Dijks to Norwich City. The craziness of the past week wasn’t played out in the board room alone though, as De Toekomst saw some surprising and crazy games itself.
On Friday, Jong Ajax started the weekend with a tough and cold away game in Den Bosch. With many strongholders absent, less experienced players were given a run out by Marcel Keizer. The lack of experience, particularly at the back, eventually ended in an early deficit. In the 11th minute former Juventus-starlet Beltrame (loaned to Den Bosch for the season) netted, giving the Bosschenaren a 1-0 lead.
The home side continued to pressurise their opponents following the goal, resulting in a host of chances for Mario Bilate mainly, with the winger hitting the bar and his teammate Vossebelt firing the ball onto the post. Due to a few lucky breaks, and sloppy play by the home side, Ajax could breathe a sigh of relief to reach half time with just one goal against.
Highlights FC Den Bosch – Jong Ajax
The second half saw a completely different game. Lartey Sanniez was subbed in to replace Zeefuik, resulting in a 3-4-3 line-up. Following the tactical change by Keizer, Ajax managed to grab control of the game and slowly but steadily started moving forward, with their play improving in every minute. Frenkie de Jong was eventually the one that broke the deadlock for Ajax, launching a beautiful long range drive into the ropes with his left foot.
Twenty minutes later, Noussair Mazraoui decided the match with another drive from distance. Receiving the ball in the middle of the pitch, he freed up the ball with a nice dribbling move and thundered it home past goalkeeper Heemskerk. 1-2. In injury time, Tim Krul, playing his very last game for Ajax, had to make a save on a Den Bosch free kick, but other than that nothing significant happened.
In another, rather crazy, game on Saturday, Ajax U19’s faced off against fellow title-competitors PSV U19 in a heated match. The game started out rather quietly, with Ajax controlling most of the possession as PSV dropped back and soaked up the pressure. Half-way the first half, tempers flared up though and PSV started to spent most of the game trying to be overly physical and forcing players out through fouls. They eventually succeeded to get Bakboord out of the game, which resulted in Joel Piroë heading home a free kick to grab the lead.
The second half saw Ajax grabbing the game by it’s throat, creating some good chances. Kaj Sierhuis and Ché Nunnely’s efforts unfortunately hit the post, where Carel Eiting and Reda Boultam’s efforts nearly produced an equaliser but were saved by PSV goalkeeper Meulenhof. In the dying seconds, Dani de Wit managed to get a header at goal but couldn’t get it past Meulenhof as the U19’s lost 0-1 against PSV.
On another field of De Toekomst, the U17’s upstaged Utrecht’s age-mates with a late comeback. In the first half, Utrecht were awarded a penalty in the 15th minute and it was comfortable put away behind goalie Meuwese. Just before half time, Utrecht extended their lead to 0-2. Ajax came out all guns blazing in the second half though, and eventually managed to grab a 3-2 win following a double from Sven Botman and a goal by Liam van Gelderen.
Highlights Ajax U17 – FC Utrecht U17
Monday evening proved to be the epitome of craziness for the weekend though, as Jong Ajax played Almere City to make up for the cancelled game last weekend. In Ajax’ comfortable victory over ADO many subs weren’t used, resulting in a big and experienced squad for Marcel Keizer to worth with. He eventually opted to start with both Riedewald and Tete in defence, along with regulars like Van de Beek and Nouri.
Their involvement was seen almost immediately in the first half, with Riedewald launching a ball towards Tete, whom extended the pass onto an open Mazraoui in front of goal. The young midfielder didn’t fail to capitalise and put an early 1-0 onto the scoreboard. Just 16 minutes later, young prodigy Abdelhak Nouri doubled Ajax’ lead as he put away a brilliant pass from Frenkie de Jong.
Just before half time, Donny van de Beek made it 3-0 to Ajax by netting a penalty kick. The onrushing midfielder was brought down inside the box and stepped up to put away his own chance, calmly slotting it home. Ajax seemed to be coasting to a clear cut victory.
Highlights Jong Ajax – Almere City
In the second half, Ajax kept control but goals were nowhere to be seen as some small chances were missed. Eventually, it was Donny van de Beek again who put home a chance and set number 4 on the scoreboard. Not much later, Matteo Cassierra, whom had assisted the fourth, saw his own name up there, as he picked up a brilliant pass from Nouri and got past the goalkeeper to make it five.
All seemed done and dusted, but Almere City weren’t a side to be beaten easily and they stepped up their game. After two errors by Riedewald and Zeefuik, Soufyan Ahannach and Sherjill MacDonald respectively were able to capitalise and score against Alblas. They eventually even came back to 5-3, as Zeefuik fouled inside the box and the following penalty was converted by former Ajax-youngster Tom Overtoom.
The game remained exciting up to the final few minutes, as both sides had some minor chances and Almere looked set on grabbing the draw. In the 85th minute, all was decided however in Ajax’ favour, as an error from the Almere defenders left Damil Dankerlui in space. The youngster did not have a tiny bit of doubt in his mind, as he calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 6-3.