Ajax has defeated SC Putten in its first practice match of the season before 3500 spectators, 1-13. Frank de Boer looks back on this season opener with satisfaction. “Last year I was irritated, but I wasn’t this year. The field had also been sprayed, which was good for ball circulation. I enjoyed it.”
Anwar El Ghazi, making his unofficial debut, had a hand in the win by scoring three goals. Nick Viergever, Arek Milik, Damon Mirani and Abdel El Hasnaoui also scored in their first Ajax game. De Boer praised his rookies: “Milik was always in position and scored a great goal. Viergever didn’t have much to do. Anwar El Ghazi also showed what he can do, scoring three goals, so it’s great that I now have a broad selection with many good players to choose from. You never know who may be leaving, so replacements need to be ready.”
The duel had a completely different feel than last year, when Ajax opened the pre-season with a match in Putten. Back then, the match was 1-4, and now it was a true scoring festival with the rookies in the starring role. After some needling by Nicolai Boilesen and Ricardo Kishna, it was Nick Viergever who scored the first Ajax goal of the season in the 11th minute. Viergever initiated the attack himself, received the ball back from Milik at the last minute, and made a controlled finish himself.
It took until the 33rd minute for Ajax to double the score. Lucas Andersen scored from outside the penalty kick area: 0-2. Six minutes later, it was Andersen again who slalomed through the Putten defense and passed to Sheraldo Becker, who didn’t hesitate to cash in on this golden opportunity: 0-3. In the 41st minute, the ball was in the goal again Milik had ticked it in on a pass from Kishna. One minute later, the same formula was repeated: a Kishna pass, with Siem de Jong being on the receiving end this time, and scoring 0-5.
During the break, Frank de Boer switched the whole team and thus Anwar El Ghazi, Damon Mirani, Abdel El Hasnaoui and Richairo Zivkovic made their debut. The first only needed three minutes in the first team before scoring his first goal for Ajax 1: after an individual play from El Ghazi, it was 0-6. After that, things accelerated. Mirani scored with a header from a corner, 0-7, two minutes later. Soon after, it was time once again for a rookie to score: Abdel El Hasnaoui scored into the far corner with a low shot, 0-9.
The crowd waited anxiously for the ‘tenth’, and they were not disappointed. In the 78th minute, Tobias Sana sent Ruben Ligeon in deep with a shot that had slightly changed direction, and the score was 0-10. The score didn’t remain like this for long, as El Ghazi completed his hat trick with another great individual play. Later on, another goal came, but not for Ajax. Sedan Ozan from SDC Putten saved the team’s honour after a rebound from a rare corner had fallen at his feet: 1-11.
The Ajax train didn’t slow down though, and within three minutes, the score was 1-12: Kolbeinn Sigthórsson scored on a header. The final goal was for Sana. He decided the final score with a beautiful free kick: 1-13. Zivkovic came close to scoring 1-14, but his attempt was stopped by the keeper.
While the players took the time to hand out autographs to fans afterwards, a rainshower started at Sportpark Putter Eng. But it was nothing compared to the shower of goals that the supporters had just seen.
On Monday Ajax continues the pre-season with a training camp in Austria. The first following practice match is planned for Saturday, July 5, when Ajax faces FC Wacker Innsbruck at 15:00.