On Saturday evening, Ajax set an important step towards a potential title by beating NEC in Nijmegen with ease whilst Feyenoord lost points in a 2-2 draw with PEC Zwolle a day later. But the senior side aren’t the only title contenders in Amsterdam. The arguably most important youth side, where boys turn into men, the under 19’s, are also involved in a tight race for top dog with their age-mates of PSV. And in that exciting title race, the side from Amsterdam has grabbed hold of the steering wheel by winning a rough but fair direct game against their competitors. And with Jong Ajax also winning on Friday evening and the U17’s snatching another win from Eindhoven, it proves the entire club is geared into title fever right now.
Jong Ajax began the weekend with an away game against Telstar, lining up a young and inexperienced side. Vaclav Cerny was the only player with any real first team experience and even the Czech winger has been on the fringes this season. After a boring opening phase of the game, Telstar helped Jong Ajax pick up pace by literally placing the ball in Cerny’s feet and the youngster did not leave the chance begging. He stepped up calm and collected, curling it past the goalie into the back of the net.
After the goal, Jong Ajax started playing better and got chances to increase the lead through Cerny, Clement and Zeefuik. The second goal didn’t fall till after half time though. In the 53rd minute, Cerny was sent into space and composedly made his way around the goalkeeper before stabbing the ball into the empty net. Only ten minutes later, the Czech struck again. To complete his hattrick on the night, he extended a low cross into the goal with his right foot. Jong Ajax dominated the game after those goals, but failed to capitalise on it and even let Telstar get back one goal by Philips. After a quiet close, the match ended in a 1-3 victory for Marcel Keizer and his men.
Saturday afternoon marked the beginning on an away game for the U17’s, playing PSV in Eindhoven. Gery Vink’s side began well and their early pressure resulted in a game-winning goal by Gravenberch in the 29th minute. PSV tried to claw their way back and grab a result in the top game of the U17 league, but couldn’t form a real fist to strike with, meaning Ajax managed to run away with a 0-1 win and the top spot in the league. Job well done.
The U19’s also kicked off on Saturday afternoon, facing off against title rivals PSV at De Toekomst. Both sides got good chances early on, with PSV getting the opportunity to finish from a low cross and Boultam putting it wide after a fierce counter following that chance. After a hectic opening stage, Ajax grabbed control and created more chances through Nunnely and Noa Lang.
Half way into the first half, Boultam escaped from seeing red as he got carded after injuring Czech midfielder Sadilek with a rash challenge. At the end of the first half, Boy Kemper and Noa Lang came close to opening the scoring, but the two of them couldn’t finish properly. Right before half time, Zian Flemming did open up the score though, heading home a cross that left Noa Lang’s boot. 1-0.
In the second half, Flemming was again dangerous, this time scoring a free kick just wide of the goal. Nunnely also got a chance to score, but the winger’s effort was sent over the bar. The third try of the half did, however, produce a goal, as substitute Mees de Wit gave Noa Lang a one-on-one chance with PSV’s goalkeeper; the midfield calmly slotting home the 2-0. Following the goal, Ajax continued to seek for other opportunities to increase the lead but failed to find any successful one’s. Lang’s shot went wide, whilst substitute Benninga lobbed the ball over the bar after a good effort from Bakker. In the dying seconds, PSV escaped a red card as a heft challenge was made on Lopez, leaving him limping off the field. Nevertheless, an important win was achieved.