Ajax convincingly won the practice match against Topklass team VV Noordwijk on Saturday: 0-8. Lasse Schöne made his Ajax debut in the Duinwetering sportpark. “I am happy and proud”, said the Danish midfielder, describing his mood after his first match.
In Noordwijk, Ajax seemingly picked up where they had left off on Wednesday in Buitenpost. The Ajax players, who had been in action for the last half hour for the midweek duel against Veendam, were the ones on field at kick off this time. The only newcomer on the Ajax team was Lasse Schöne. The Danish European Championships participant made his entry at de Toekomst on Monday. On Saturday, his official debut followed. Schöne’s first moments in red were promising. Lightfooted and self-assured, the Dane was an immediate asset to the already strong midfield. The upcoming weeks will tell if Schöne can continue the strong playing he showed against VV Noordwijk.
At Duinwetering sportpark, Ajax had a relatively problem free first half. The hosts didn’t come near Ajax captain Jasper Cillessen. The two Amsterdam goals in the first seventeen minutes ensured that an upset by the amateur teams would be out of the question. Thulani Serero opened the score after seven minutes with a swirling long distance shot. The shot was too powerful for Noordwijk keeper Sven van Hensbergen. The ball landed in the goal via the keeper’s body: 0-1.
Ten minutes later, Schöne lifted the ball coolly past the same keeper before the crowd of 3900. The debuting player attacked following a chaotic situation, which was initiated by Mitchell Dijks. In addition to left back Dijks, who regularly storms forward, right wing defender Ruben Ligeon also gave a noteworthy performance. The back controlled an across pass from Serero very well, after which a great rush followed. Van Hensbergen was beaten again: 0-3.
During the break of Ajax’s fifth practice match, Ajax coach Frank de Boer made two changes. Theo Janssen came in for Lasse Schöne, and Kenneth Vermeer came in between the posts. De Boer saved the ‘real’ swaps for fifteen minutes after the break. The remaining nine starting players were replaced by the Ajax players on the bench.
The Noordwijk team had too few weapons to make this match a true contest. Just like Cillessen, Vermeer hardly faced any shots. But for the three VV Noordwijk keepers, the situation was different. After Lorenzo Ebecilio goal (0-4, on a Jodi Lukoki pass), Davy Klaassen’s 0-5 followed quickly.
Centre forward Klaassen took a penalty shot after a foul on Serero. After Ajax’s fifth goal, many substitutions took place. Toby Alderweireld, Vurnon Anita, Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, Siem de Jong, Daley Blind, Aras Özbiliz, Ricardo van Rhijn, Dico Koppers and Viktor Fischer were the fresh, new Ajax players for the last half hour.
With the line-up that is likely going to be the basis for the new season, Noordwijk was left without a hope. In the last twenty minutes, Theo Janssen and Kolbeinn Sigthórsson brought the score closer to 0-8. Janssen rounded off perfectly on a good pass from Alderweireld on defence: 0-6. Sigthórsson showed his killer instinct by striking twice in two minutes. Especially the manner in which the Icelander scored Ajax’s eighth goal is worth mentioning. Sigthórsson was in a combination with Janssen, received the ball, and scored the 0-8 goal. With six minutes left on the clock, it seemed that a double digit win may be in the cards. But it didn’t get that far.
This generous win against Noordwijk, and especially Ajax’s dominant play, was welcome. On Saturday, the first real contest will be played out against Celtic FC. This will also be the first match of the season where Ajax can be seen in the ArenA. They have the chance to make progress again against the Scottish champions. They’ll do everything in order to be fit and ready on August 5th when they play for the Johan Cruijff Plate against PSV.
De Boer was satisfied with his team’s presentation. The coach expanded on the performance of the ‘young guns’, to who he gave a chance before the break. “I’m happy with them”, said De Boer. “Even though you could see at certain moments that a certain fluidity was missing, that’s totally understandable.” Viktor Fischer was among the Ajax players who played in the last part of the match. But he is also one of the younger players in the selection. “I told him in the locker room that he’ll be with the selection for at least another week. After that, we’ll see.”
Schöne looked back on his official debut with Ajax with a smile. In Noordwijk, the Dane had already enjoyed a full week’s training. “The first week is always tough, but I started well and I’ve been well received in the group”, said Schöne, after giving his autograph to some of the kids in Noordwijk. “It went well, but I still have some work to do. It was great in any case to put on that jersey. That’s really something. Now I’m really happy and proud.”