Ajax has posted its first win of 2016. In Belek’s Gloria Sports Arena, the German team HSV was defeated, 3-1. Arek Milik (2x) and Viktor Fischer scored the first goals of the new year.
Frank de Boer had already expressed his satisfaction with the successful training camp on Friday. With a 3-1 win against HSV, the head coach can now return to Amsterdam feeling content. His team didn’t play a perfect match, and there are still several areas for improvement, but this win will give the team a boost. And, eight days before Eredivisie competition resumes, that’s a great feeling. De Boer: “We were too hesitant in the first ten minutes, and too nonchalant in the last eight, when we could have blown it open. But I saw good things in between. HSV isn’t a poor opponent, and I think we’re ready for the second half of the season.”
Strongest possible line-up
De Boer started the strongest possible line-up against HSV. It must be added that he couldn’t use his captain Davy Klaassen (knee injury) and that Anwar El Ghazi was suffering from a knee injury yesterday. Daley Sinkgraven returned after a long injury. Due to Klaassen’s absence, he was in the starting line-up, at left half. Arek Milik was out at the front, flanked by Amin Younes and Viktor Fischer.
After a good opening phase by HSV, during which the German team created danger by firing two wide shots, Ajax slowly got a grip on the match. Younes was especially threatening. The left winger was a thorn in his German countrymen’s side several times, and was at the root of Ajax’s first goal. In the 22nd minute, he brought Milik into position, but the striker stumbled on keeper Adler. The ball reached Bazoer, who hit the post, after which Milik struck on the rebound. Just like last year (1-0 against Schalke in Qatar), the first Ajax goal of the year was scored by the Polish international. This time, he received some help from the keeper, whose head helped the ball into the goal.
Sinkgraven remained in the locker room for the second half. Forty-five minutes of play was enough for the midfielder, who was replaced by Donny van de Beek. Ajax came out strong in the second half, taking a 2-0 lead early on. After a great attack via Van de Beek and Younes, Fischer scored. In the 66th minute, Milik scored the 3-0 goal thanks to great preparation work by Younes. In the meantime, Cerny had come in (for Fischer) and Abdelhak Nouri made his unofficial debut, coming in for Younes. HSV was stronger in the final minutes, bringing the score to 3-1, but the win was never threatened.
Sinkgraven happy with return The happy Ajacieds ran around the field after the game. Nouri was happy with his first minutes of playing with Ajax 1, Milik was pleased with his goals, and Sinkgraven looked back on a good return. “I was out for six weeks, so I needed to get a bit of rhythm. I’m happy to have played for forty-five minutes. It was a great evening. The field was good and I think we played a very good match at times. HSV is a strong opponent, but we were better.”
Score summary: 22. Milik 1-0, 48. Fischer 2-0, 66. Milik 3-0, 80. Hunt 3-1
Ajax: Cillessen; Tete, Veltman, Riedewald, Dijks; Bazoer (81. Schöne), Sinkgraven (46. Van de Beek), Gudelj; Fischer (62. Cerny), Milik, Younes (78. Nouri)