Ajax A1 lost its away game on Tuesday afternoon against CSKA Moscow in the NextGen Series. The match ended at 2-0 in the Oktoberstadion. “It was a tough but educational game”, summarized assistant coach Kenneth Perez after the meeting in the Russian capital.
The recently appointed A1 coach, Alfons Groenendijk, was with his Ajax team in Moscow. The coach left the post-match commentary up to Perez, who took over the honours after coach Fred Grim’s departure to Almere City. The NextGen Series is in its second edition and is known as the ‘Champions League for young talents’. Last season, Ajax A1 reached the finals of the NextGen Series. They lost the finals to Internazionale, who came out stronger after penalty kicks.
After a first half which was tumultuous at times, Khurtsidze opened the score right before the break. The Muscovite had the time and space to shoot in. “It was one minute before the break; basically, a moment in which something like this shouldn’t be allowed to happen”, evaluated Perez “Moreover, he was able to shoot pretty easily.”
Several questionable refereeing decisions created some unrest in the first half. For example, after about twenty minutes of play, the referee quite easily accorded the home team a penalty. “Peter Leeuwenburgh got it, fortunately”, said Perez, looking back on the dubious penalty shot, which was neutralized by the Ajax keeper. “Dealing with referees in these countries is one of the key lessons from today. Next to that, CSKA is a physically strong opponent. Dealing with such physically strong opponents – and CSKA was also playing with three dispensation players – is also a lesson. Despite all of that, we continued to play our own game.”
Roughly fifteen minutes before the end, Georgievsky helped the Moscow team reach a second goal. An Ajax communication error took place before this second Russian goal. Perez and Groenendijk watched with satisfaction as their Ajax talents kept up with their opponents during the entire game. “In terms of approach, hunger and attitude, we had a good day”, said Perez on behalf of Groenendijk. “They guys did everything they could to wipe away that deficit. That’s worth a lot.”
Had Ajax won, they would have taken over first place form CSKA. The difference between the Ajax and CSKA Moscow A-juniors is now six points. An important difference is that the Russians have played two matches more than Ajax. Ajax won its first two pool matches (both home and away) against Molde FK, 5-0.
Ajax won’t need to wait long for an opportunity to take revenge on the Russians. The next home game in the NextGen Series will be on Tuesday, November 6. On that evening, A1 will meet CSKA at de Toekomst. The group matches against the Chelsea A-juniors are on the agenda for the beginning of 2013. The dates for these matches are not yet known.
Ajax A1 line-up: Peter Leeuwenburgh; Kenny Tete, Danzell Gravenberch, Bas Kuipers, Darren Rosheuvel, Tom Noordhoff (63. Abdelmalek El Hasnaoui), Queensy Menig, Djavan Anderson, Sinan Keskin (63. Nick de Bondt), Branco van den Boomen, Elton Acolatse (46. Derwin Martina).