Ajax has tied its first friendly match of the pre-season. In Kematen, Austria, the match against Dinamo Moscow ended in a 2-2 draw. After a 1-1 halftime score, Bazoer put Ajax into the lead after halftime, 2-1. Shortly before the end, the Russians decided the game, 2-2.
Frank de Boer has four weeks’ time to prepare his players to be ready for ninety full minutes of playing. After six days of training, everyone had to play 45 minutes. New players came in after the break. Only keeper Mickey van der Hart remained on the bench for 90 minutes.
The eleven players who, in the eyes of the technical staff, are currently strongest, were in the starting line-up. The last days in training made clear who those players were. In the coming week, internationals Jasper Cillessen, Joël Veltman, Nicolai Boilesen, Lucas Andersen and Arek Milik will join the team once again, with Viktor Fischer coming in a bit later. Ricardo Kishna – who had to leave the training camp earlier due to a death in the family – will return to the group. With a potential new acquisition, Ajax will be in fighting form.
But there were more interesting things to be seen. Kenny Tete and Ricardo van Rhijn have swapped spots in the rankings. Van Rhijn, the right back of choice in the past years, made a good impression on the training field, but still was relegated to the reserve team. Tete was on the squad against Dinamo Moscow. John Heitinga, Jairo Riedewald and Mitchell Dijks completed the last line.
Midfield was formed by Daley Sinkgraven, celebrating his birthday, Davy Klaassen and newcomer Nemanja Gudelj. The Serbian made his unofficial debut. Despite Davy Klaassen’s setback due to an operation to his abomen, De Boer wanted to play a true number 10, and thus Klaassen, who received the news on Friday that he would be succeeding Niklas Moisander as captain, got the nod.
Offense will most likely be undergoing substantial changes in the next few weeks, especially since Milik, Fischer and Kishna were absent. Against Dinamo Moscow, who started their pre-season on June 28, the offensive line consisted of Lasse Schöne, Queensy Menig and Anwar El Ghazi.
The temperature in Austria was 32 degrees Celsius at 16:00, kick-off time. This took its toll on the match, during which Ajax tried to put into practice what they had worked on in training. De Boer had announced that there should be 3,5 players in the opposing box during an attack, and in the beginning, this happened. In the fourteenth minute, the first danger from Dinamo Moscow came via former PSV player Dzudzsak, who sent a free kick over. Four minutes later, Ajax took the lead when Kuzmin sent a corner kick by Schöne past his own keeper: 1-0. After half an hour, around the time that Dinamo pulled even via a goal by Sosnin (1-1), Ajax, clad in their new apple-green away kit, seemed to have exhausted their resources. Although Menig had a good shot in the closing minute of the first half.
Ajax started the second half with a totally new team. Among them, five made their debut: André Onana, Mauro Savastano, Vaclav Cerny, Sam Hendriks en Donny van de Beek. Nick Viergever took over the captain’s band from Klaassen. In the 58th minute, Ajax, under the lead of Vaclav Cerny, put on the pressure. Bazoer received the ball from the right, pivoted away and scored with his left foot: 2-1. The announced gave the goal to Sinkgraven, who, at that point, had been leaning against the fence watching the game. Unfortunately for the birthday boy, the announcer corrected his mistake.
Even worse for Ajax was the fact that the lead was so short-lived. Eight minutes before time, Yann M’vila sent the ball past Andre Onana: 2-2. With just a few minutes left, Van Rhijn pepped up his team mates one more time. However no more goals were scored and the first friendly match ended in a 2-2 tie.