Ajax A1 has left points on the table for the first time this season in the NextGen Series. Visiting their counterparts in Fenerbahçe, coach Fred Grim’s team couldn’t do better than a 0-0 tie on Wednesday afternoon. Despite the loss of points, Ajax A1 is still in first place in group 3.
Ajax A1’s first three group matches went smoothly. They posted relatively easy wins against Fenerbahçe (5-1), Aston Villa (2-0), and Rosenborg (1-2). But on Turkish soil, the A juniors suffered some damage for the first time. Despite having many opportunities, Ajax didn’t manage to score.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice”, was coach Fred Grim’s conclusion. “We had good position play, and got many chances. But we still didn’t manage to score. And because of that, the players forgot to reward themselves for an otherwise well-played match from our side.” Compared to the simple home win against Fenerbahçe (5-1), Grim thought the Turkish team were stronger in that match than in this one on Wednesday. “But due to the 0-0 score, we needed to be vigilant until the end to prevent a goal against.”
Grim was happy to see that after the match, the team’s focus was directly on the upcoming competition match. “The guys started talking on their own about FC Utrecht A1. I think that’s great, because you can see that they’re progressing in their development. They’ll have to be able to shift quickly like that with the seniors, too.”
Grim is still optimistic about the team’s chances to reach the next round. After four matches, Ajax is still in the lead with group 3. “The coming games against Aston Villa (away, November 22) and Rosenborg (home, November 29) promise to be two great matches. Who knows what will happen after that. But right now, we’re in a good position.”
The numbers 1 and 2 of each pool will qualify for the last phase of the tournament with final matches.
Line-up Ajax A1: Peter Leeuwenburgh, Sven Nieuwpoort, Youssef Fennich, Fabian Sporkslede, Mike Busse (54. Khalid Salim El Abed), Joeri de Kamps, Davy Klaassen, Ouasim Bouy, Lesley de Sa, Danzell Gravenberch (65. Nick de Bondt), Yener Arica (80. Rowendey Schoop).