20 July 2011
Ajax defeated Brøndby IF 0-3 during their friendly match on Wednesday evening. Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, Thulani Serero and Lorenzo Ebecilio scored in the Brøndby Stadium. Theo Janssen wore the captain’s armband for the first time.Frank de Boer’s team left at around 4.30p.m. from Copenhagen to Brøndby, which is close to the Danish capital. Copenhagen welcomed another club: West Ham United. The ‘Hammers’ played a friendly against Denmark’s second top club, FC Copenhagen.
Ajax’s friendly against Brøndby IF was the club’s third one against a foreign club this season. While the matches in Germany against SSV Jahn Regensburg (0-0) and 1.FC Nürnberg (2-0) didn’t deliver any wins, Ajax cashed in against the Danish top club.
Kenneth Vermeer got the nod over Maarten Stekelenburg for this practice match against the Danes. The latter was between the posts against 1.FC Nürnberg last Saturday. De Boer granted him a break against Brøndby. As Stekelenburg wasn’t in action, and Jan Vertonghen stayed home recovering from a groin injury, Theo Janssen wore the captain’s band. The Arnhem native made his Ajax debut a mere two and a half weeks ago, during the vv Buitenpost match. For this sixth practice match, he was already wearing the Ajax captain’s band and was the team’s leader on the field.
Ajax experienced a difficult start, but ten minutes into the match, new life seemed to be breathed into their game. Kolbeinn Sigthórsson had an opportunity after a good play by Aras Ozbiliz and Vurnon Anita. Referee Michael Johansen blew the whistle on the centre forward. Whether or not he had a realistic chance to score is unclear. Sigthórsson had two tall Brøndby players, Jan Frederiksen en Clarence Goodson, in front of him.
Janssen almost made good on a great free kick from the right flank five minutes later. The Ajax player took a controlled shot into the far corner. Keeper Stephan Andersen just barely made the save.
Sigthórsson had another nice opportunity to bring Ajax into a 0-1 lead on a Gregory van der Wiel pass. His header went straight into the Brøndby keeper’s hands. Five minutes before time, Sigthórsson’s header did hit the mark. Miralem Sulejmani made a beautiful pass to the Icelander from the left, which left Andersen without a hope of stopping the shot.
Brøndby had very few offensive replies in the first twenty minutes. A corner kick from Jan Kristiansen was no match for Vermeer’s feline reflexes. Shortly after, he blocked a shot from Nicolaj Agger. Vermeer made yet another save at the start of the second half. With lightning speed, he ticked a hard shot from Osama Akharraz over the goal.
The second Ajax goal came courtesy of another fresh Ajax face, Thulani Serero. After great combination work, the player made his way past three men in the small area, after which, with a bit of luck, he took possession of the ball once a again and shot into the goal. Lorenzo Ebecilio scored shortly after. Substitute goalie Michael Tornes was beaten after good preparation work from Vurnon Anita: 0-3. The Ajax players remained on the hunt for a fourth goal, via substitute Rodney Sneijder, and Özbiliz, among others. But a fourth goal never came. With three beautifully executed goals, great combination work and Vermeer’s clean sheet, Ajax can be proud of a strong match in Denmark.
Ajax plays its first home game of the season, against the Argentine club Independiente. The practice match against the top club from South America starts at 2.30p.m. in the Amsterdam ArenA. Tickets are still available for the match.