The Ajax Under 17s recovered well from a tough start in the ABN Amro Future Cup. With a flying start in this match, the Ajacieds laid the groundwork for a generous win against Red Bull Salzburg (3-0). Within ten minutes, Ajax was in the 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Daishawn Redan and Francesco Antonucci. Ryayan El Azrak scored in the second half, sealing the game by scoring directly on a corner.
The relief was clear on Francesco Antonucci’s face afterwards. “I’m very happy, this was an important game”, said the midfielder, who played a strong game. “We were stressed for the first game, but everything went better this time. I’m very happy with the team.” On Sunday, Ajax will only need a tie against Arsenal to qualify for the semi-finals. If they beat the English team, they will win the group.
An attack on the right side, a good pass and finishing by the second post. Ajax hurt their Austrian opponent twice in the same fashion. After four minutes, it was Redan who first pulled the trigger, and Antonucci did the same later on with a header.
Ajax had come of the starting blocks with some difficulty on Saturday morning. The opening match against the Ghana’s Right to Dream ended in a scoreless tie. The Ajacieds hardly created any opportunities in this match, but they did this better against the team from Salzburg. Ajax set up a 3-4-3 against the Austrian team’s two- centre-forwards system, with Antonucci and the fake left winger.
This produced results immediately, as Ajax played a good opening phase and dealt a blow to the Austrian team, who was making its first appearance at the Future Cup. With by-the-book goals, they took a comfortable 2-0 lead. This was good for Ajax, who had nothing to fear from Salzburg. The Austrian team gave it their all, but simply couldn’t make anything happen.
In the second half, Ajax shifted into a higher gear. A disqualified goal was the writing on the wall for Salzburg, who then went on to give up the 3-0 goal. The way this happened was priceless. El Azrak had just come on to the field five minutes before when, from the left flank, he scored on a corner in one shot. The midfielder brought the crowd to its feet. In the closing minutes, Ajax came close to scoring a fourth goal, but they spared Salzburg. But this was cold comfort for the Austrian team.
Score summary: 4. Redan 1-0, 9. Antonucci 2-0, 43. El Azrak 3-0
Ajax U17s: Te Duits, Kramer, Hoogenhout, Bakker, Botman, Lang (41. El Azrak), Ekkelenkamp (31. Van der Linden), Antonucci, Nunnely, Redan
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