Ajax has ended the season with a win. In the Olympic Stadium of Shenyang, the last match under coach Frank de Boer ended in a 0-2 win for Ajax.
For the statistics, this was De Boer’s very last match. But he saw it differently. “I wouldn’t call this the very last match. For me, that was De Graafschap – Ajax. That match meant something, and this one is just for honour”, he said prior to the match against Liaoning Whowin FC.
This game served honour well. Joël Veltman opened the score in the 19th minute, putting Ajax on the winning path. The international extended Nemanja Gudelj’s shot with his head: 0-1. Three minutes later, Veltman almost scored the second goal. After that, Amin Younes and centre forward Anwar El Ghazi both took shots, but they didn’t fluster keeper Zhang Zhenqiang.
Ajax went into the second half with just ten players, as Kenny Tete had received his second yellow card shortly before halftime. With three fresh players in ((Mike van der Hoorn, Ricardo van Rhijn and Daley Sinkgraven), De Boer transitioned to a 5-3-1 system. The home team’s coach sent a completely new line-up onto the field.
As 40.000 spectators watched, Diederik Boer, Donny van de Beek and Mitchell Dijks came on after about one hour. Everyone got playing time in this last game of the season. This way, nobody had taken the long plane journey for nothing, as De Boer had said prior to the match. 8.000 kilometers away from Amsterdam, via Beijing to Shenyang, all players wore a special match jersey. The jerseys with the Chinese names and the badge of partner CST on the sleeve were nice collector’s items.
Thanks to a goal from Van der Hoorn (with help from the opponent), Ajax ended its last match under De Boer exactly as it had started 5,5 years ago in Milan: with a 0-2 win. The De Boer era thus ended with a win.
De Boer: “I am pleased that the score was 0-2. That’s how we started in 2010 in Milan. The circle is complete.” And with a smile: “It’s a good thing that Van der Hoorn’s shot went over, otherwise it would have been 0-3. But joking aside: this is a good parting gift for the players. We’ve ended this trip to China on a good note.”
Ajax retrns from China on Friday morning.
Score summary: 19. Veltman 0-1, 84. Van der Hoorn 0-2.
Line-up Ajax: Cillessen (61. Boer), Tete, Veltman, Viergever, Riedewald (61. Dijks), Bazoer, Klaassen (46. Van der Hoorn), Gudelj, Schöne (46. Van Rhijn), El Ghazi (61. Van de Beek), Younes (46. Sinkgraven).