In the second duel of the opening day of the ABN AMRO Future Cup, Ajax Under 17 had a completely different experience than they had had earlier that day. The game against FC Porto ended badly. The Portuguese team won 1-0, meaning that Ajax needs to win on Sunday to go on the next rounds.
After Ajax Under 17’s 4-0 win against Schalke ’04, the fans were expecting more of the same. But things didn’t turn out that way. Porto was a very physical team. And Ajax’s task was to stay as far away from that as possible. It didn’t work. “We had trouble from the start”, analysed captain Carel Eiting with a disappointed look. The seventeen year-old midfielder has played matches with the Under 19s, but now played with the Under 17s tournament team as the captain. “I’ve only played one game with the Under 17s, and so I was playing with ten guys that I didn’t know, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I had been hoping to play in this tournament all year and last week, I heard for sure that I could. I was looking forward to it. Lots of people come, there’s a great atmosphere and you play against top teams.”
After the win against Schalke, Eiting knew that the game against Porto would be very different. But Ajax nearly took the lead in the nineteenth minute via Malen and Nunnely. But the ball inexplicably crashed onto the crossbar and went wide. Eiting: “We did everything we could to post a good result against Porto. The fact that we didn’t manage to do that, while Joe (Van der Sar) didn’t have anything to do, is extra bitter.”
The fact that Porto was able to score the 1-0 goal was due to the fact that Correia was hauled down. The referee was clear: penalty. Diogo Casimiro scored with a hard shot, 1-0. In the last minutes, Ajax should also have received a penalty shot, but the referee placed the ball on the edge of the penalty kick area. Malen shot wide, and the game was over.
On the other field, Galatasaray defeated Schalke ’04, after which both the Turks and Portuguese teams are ranked above Ajax in Pool A. “So we didn’t reap any benefit from that great game against Schalke ‘04”, said Eiting. “Tomorrow we need to beat Galatasaray and they’re a good team, who play a physical game.”
“A nice challenge”, says coach Frank Peereboom of Ajax’s task to beat Galatasaray. “We didn’t get into our own game against Porto. It was educational, but it doesn’t help us in this tournament. I found it disappointing that players, from whom I expected a lot, didn’t take charge against Porto. After the 4-0 win against Schalke ’04, they received the compliments, but then you need to continue that way in the next match. That wasn’t the case. We had difficulty with the conditions We weren’t able to play our position game and Porto took full advantage.”
The loss means that Ajax, with three points in two matches, is third in pool A. Porto and Galatasaray are above them with four points.
Starting line-up Ajax Under 17 : Joe van der Sar; Deyovaiso Zeefuik, Matthijs de Ligt, Navajo Bakboord, Jorg Oievaar; Dani de Wit, Carel Eiting, Azor Matusiwa; Ché Nunnely, Donyell Malen, Kaj Sierhuis