Ajax loses friendly to Sparta

Ajax loses friendly to Sparta

Ajax lost Tuesday’s friendly match against Sparta Rotterdam, 2-3. During the closed friendly at the Toekomst, Niki Zimling and Lerin Duarte scored for Ajax. Jeremy de Nooijer, Thomas Verhaar and Pieter Langedijk scored for Sparta.

Just like in last week’s friendly against Excelsior (3-2 also), Pieter Langedijk once again played a key role. The Sparta forward scored the winning goal last Thursday during the Rotterdam city derby, and he did the same on Tuesday afternoon against Ajax.

In Sparta, Ajax had found a sparring partner which allowed the team to give non-internationals (or players who hadn’t seen action with their national team) some playing time. Diederik Boer was in Ajax’s goal. The defense consisted of Ricardo van Rhijn, Kenny Tete, Nick Viergever and Ruben Ligeon. Queensy Menig, Niki Zimling and Lerin Duarte were at midfield. The three front positions were manned by Anwar El Ghazi, Ricardo Kishna and Richairo Zivkovic. Youth international Zivkovic returned to Ajax on Monday as he had been sent home for disciplinary reasons from the Dutch under 19 team. Instead of seeing action in a youth international against Belgium’s under 19 team, he played 90 minutes for Ajax.

Sparta took the lead twice in the first half. After almost half an hour of play, Jeremy de Nooijer – son of former Sparta player Dennis de Nooijer- rounded off an attack beautifully. Ajax keeper Boer couldn’t stop the Sparta player’s shot. Eight minutes after the opening goal, Boer prevented a second Rotterdam goal when he anticipated the incoming Thomas Verhaar. Later on, Zivkovic posed a threat on the opposite side. His shot into the near corner was stopped by keeper Kortsmit.
Shortly before the break, Zimling tied the game. On a pass from the right, the Dane sent the ball into the goal from nearby: 1-1. But Ajax wasn’t able to enjoy the tie for very long, as two minutes later, Sparta forward Thomas Verhaar scored with a header, bringing the visitors into the lead again, 1-2.

At the start of the second half, a few new faces came on field for Ajax. Mike van der Hoorn, Stefano Denswil and Robert Muric relieved Ricardo van Rhijn, Niki Zimling and Anwar El Ghazi. Denswil and Van der Hoorn formed the defensive heart, moving Tete (right back) and Viergever (midfield controller) into a different position.

Midway through the second half, Sparta provided the first threat after the break. Later on, Ajax scored the tying goal in the 69th minute. Lerin Duarte picked up the ball after a corner kick and shot it into the goal from far away: 2-2. Ten minutes before time, substitute Langedijk determined the final score of 2-3. The Sparta keeper passed Ajax keeper Boer in a spectacular fashion. In the final minutes, Denswil had a last opportunity at 3-3, but his free kick sailed over the Rotterdam goal.

Score summary: 26. De Nooijer 0-1, 43. Zimling 1-1, 45. Verhaar 1-2, 69. Duarte 2-2, 80. Langedijk 2-3.

Line-up Ajax: Boer, Van Rhijn (46. Van der Hoorn), Tete, Viergever (46. Denswil), Ligeon, Menig, Zimling, Duarte, El Ghazi (46. Muric), Zivkovic, Kishna.

Line-up Sparta Rotterdam: Kortsmit, Van Buuren (60. Van Boxel), Breedijk, Breuer, Teijsse, Nys (60. Albertus), Mahmudov (46. Hiwat), De Nooijer, Gladon (46. Voskamp), Loen, Verhaar (60. Langedijk).