The AEGON Future Cup 2011 final was an enthralling football battle between the Ajax Under 17s and their peers from RSC Anderlecht. In the end an early goal by Mohamed Soumare turned out to be the decision maker: 0-1. Despite this, Ajax Under 17s manager Robin Pronk feels there were also points won.
A year ago the Ajax players sported the first ever AEGON Future Cup. One edition and one year on, it’s the Anderlecht talents who are holding the shining cup up above their heads. The Belgians celebrated their victory under a bombardment of confetti. Attacker Soumare opened the score in the fourth minute already. Ajax goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh could do nothing but watch the accurate, long distance shot sail past him, into the goal. Over the next 56 minutes, the Amsterdam talents failed to repair the damage.
,,We can still look ourselves in the eye. We did everything to win this tournament: we came first in our group and we won a difficult semi final’’, Robin Pronk said, looking back on the final that was lost. ,,At certain times, particularly during the second half of the final, you have to get lucky as well. Perhaps fatigue and tension played a part as well.’’
After a tumultuous opening stage, with Anderlecht dominating, the Ajax players slowly fought their way back into the game. Jordi Bitter and Boban Lazic in particular, kept the Belgian defence very busy. Ajax increasingly came up with a response to the fast and physical game the squad from Brussels confronted them with. The entertaining player Lazic took a free kick after half time, but it curled next to the goal and in another attempt he ran into goalkeeper Davy Roef. On top of that, an alleged handball by Anderlecht defender Antonie D’Alberto in the penalty area went unpunished. Or, as Pronk said: Ajax was unlucky at the decisive moments.
,,We played the way we wanted to play’’, Pronk continued. ,,That’s the most important thing. We played well, if you look at the overall picture, this tournament. And the biggest point won this tournament is that we have encountered five different concepts of play during the Future Cup. We take these experiences with us.’’
And so, the title that was won by Ajax last year, had to be handed over to RSC Anderlecht on Monday afternoon. The Ajax players may attempt winning the third edition of the AEGON Future Cup in 2012.
Ajax Under 17s line-up in AEGON Future Cup 2011 final against RSC Anderlecht:
Peter Leeuwenburgh; Sir-Ralph Owusu, Joey Papamelodias, Tom Noordhoff, Hidde Prijs (31. Danzell Gravenberch); Emran Barakzai (31. Stefan Marinkovic), Abdelmalek El Hasnaoui, Darren Rosheuvel (51. Djavan Anderson); Derwin Martina (40. Elton Armah), Jordi Bitter and Boban Lazic.
Final results AEGON Future Cup 2011:
1. RSC Anderlecht
2. Ajax B1
3. Bayern München
5. Ajax Cape Town
6. DC United
7. Celtic FC
8. China U17
Text: Ajax.nl/ Ronald Jonges
Photographs: Ajax.nl/ Louis van de Vuurst