Ajax’s U17 team qualified for the finals of the ABN AMRO Future Cup on Monday after a thrilling game. 0-2 down, the Ajacieds seemed to be heading towards defeat against Anderlecht, but showed their fighting spirit. Thanks to goals by Quinten Maduro and Sven Botman, Ajax came back to 2-2, after which an exciting penalty kick series went Ajax’s way. Ricardo Farcas scored Ajax’s deciding penalty.
Just as important was keeper Daan Reiziger, who kept Mardochee Nzita Theto from scoring at 3-3. Had the penalty gone in, then Anderlecht would have earned a ticket for the finals. But that honour now belongs to Ajax, who kicks off at 15:00 for the final match against Bayern Munich. Anderlecht will play the consolation finals against JLeague.
Anderlecht is a steady guest at the Future Cup and, just like Ajax, has been very successful in past editions. Both clubs have won the prestigious tournament three times. Last season, the Belgians lost the final match to Arsenal, marking the first time that a team other than Ajax or Anderlecht won the tournament.
The Belgians took the lead early on. Goalie Reiziger was just able to save a header from nearby, but was hopeless against Yuanis Mokou Temdieu’s rebound. There were very few opportunities after that in the first half. Ajax broke through a few times, but this didn’t lead to concrete danger. A long-distance shot from Jurrieën Maduro (one meter wide) was the Amsterdam team’s most important attempt.
Double substitution to attempt to turn the tide
On the opposite side, Reiziger was forced to deal with a hard shot from Alan Mayunga. With a double substitution, coach Gery Vink attempted to turn the tide. Quinten Maduro came in for his brother Jurriën and Brian Brobbey replaced Abdallah Aberkane.
Despite these good intentions, Ajax quickly went down 0-2. A swift pass landed at the second post near Mayanga, who had the good fortune of shooting straight into the goal. It was Mayanga once again who, a few moments later, had the final blow at his feet, but he failed to convert and Ajax remained alive.
The host went for broke and came back to life. Q. Maduro suddenly found himself in a good position within Anderlecht’s penalty box, and took a shot from a difficult corner: 1-2. Prior to that, Botman had been sent to the front, which produced results for Ajax. The tall captain scored with a beautiful header eleven minutes before time.
Anderlecht was vulnerable and Ajax smelled blood. Things could have been even better for Botman, but the captain was kept from scoring the winning goal twice by keeper Maxime Delanghe.
The tension was thick during the penalties, but in the end, Ajax kept its cool for the longest. The home team missed twice, but Anderlecht had three misses. So in the end, Gery Vink’s team came out on top.
The Ajax U17 - Bayern Munich U17 begins Monday at 15:00. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sport 2 and Fox Sports GO.