Goal and injury for Charisteas in debut

In the first match of 2005, a friendly against non-league side Spakenburg, Ajax won 5-0. Latest signing Angelos Charsiteas scored in his first match for Ajax, but also had to come off with an injury after a hard foul.

Coach Ronald Koeman does not mind when the opponent plays a physical game. ,,But it's different when there is no ball around'', said the Ajax boss. Wesley Sneijder was fouled hard right before the Ajax dug-out, Nigel de Jong had to be taken off ten minutes after he had come on for Maxwell and Angelos Charisteas was hit in the ankle and left the pitch a few minutes before the final whistle.

Ajax started in the line-up that was almost the same as in the last matches before the winter break. But Maarten Stekelenburg replaced Hans Vonk, although Koeman indicated that no conclusions could be drawn from that, and Ryan Babel played as right winger. Mauro Rosales was given an extra week vacation because of his busy schedule during the summer and Daniel de Ridder had the flu. Johnny Heitinga took over for injured Tomás Galásek and also took the captain's band. ,,Johnny has played that position before'', Koeman said. ,,And I am pleased with Escudé and Grygera as central defenders.''

Yannis Anastasiou made it 0-1 in the 23rd minute when he touched in a free kick by Rafael van der Vaart. The condition of the pitch, the heavy wind and a very defensive Spakenburg made that at halftime it was still 0-1.

Koeman brought on seven new players for the second half. Steven Pienaar came on for Anthony Obodai but Obodai had to return in the 56th minute for Nigel de Jong, who was fouled and suffered an injury. Young-Ajax player Rasmus Lindgren saw some playing time with the first team but the most anticipated substitution was of course the coming on of Angelos Charisteas. He replaced his fellow countryman Yannis Anastasiou.

The first move of the Greek striker was reminiscent of the spectacular play with which Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his departure from Ajax. But Charisteas did not score that time, as he was taken down before he had a chance to shoot. After 64 minutes Ryan Babel doubled the margin with a hard right-footed shot after a good touch by Pienaar. Fifteen minutes before the end, Johnny Heitinga scored from a corner by Wesley Sneijder and one minute later, Charisteas touched it in from near the goal line. The Greek forward's appearance came to an end when he received a kick to the ankle. By then it was 0-5, though another goal by Heitinga. Koeman: ,,Charisteas' injury is not serious, but we are not taking any risks at this stage. You could see that he has to get used to his teammates and vice versa. He is a different kind of striker than we had here, but it's going to work out.''