Ajax and Mido live up to reputation

Mido, Ajax's Egyptian striker, is a celebrity in his own country. Everyone had high hopes when Mido came with his club Ajax to Egypt to play Al-Ahly. The fans were not disappointed. Ajax won 2-1, with Mido scoring one of the goals

As a gesture to his fans, although he played for rivals Zamalek, Mido threw his shirt in the crowd after the match. The other Ajax players dropped to the grass, tired as they were from training camp, the journey to Egypt and the fourth match in ten days. Yet all players reported to the podium after the game, which represented the official opening of the Meridian Cup, to receive a medal and to wave at the enthousiastic crowd.

The home crowd had every reason to be pleased with the match. The fans had seen legendary Ajax, that also played in a very offensive line up, with Sneijder as left back next to defenders Pasanen, Chivu and Trabelsi; Witschge and Galasek as the team's midfielders and an attack with Munteanu, Wamberto, Boukhari en Mido. And the more than 50,000 supporters saw their side put Ajax under pressure at times.

Ajax dominated much of the first half. Tomas Galasek headed in a corner by Wesley Sneijder after 25 minutes. Al-Ahly was the stronger side for the last ten minutes of the first half, but Ajax took a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Mido started the second half well. With Pienaar, Van der Meyde and Maxwell for Witschge, Munteanu and Boukhari Ajax kept the home side's defence under pressure. After 70 minutes Mido's 'homecoming' got its desired crowning. The striker took a pass from Andy van der Meyde on his chest and scored with his left foot. ,,It was great'', Mido said. ,,The fans were terrific. I am glad it went this way. If we would have lost, they would have reminded me for the next ten years here in Cairo.''

Ajax weren't safe for long. Goalkeeper Lobont misjudged a free kick. The ball went off the crossbar and the rebound ended up in the foot of Wael Gomaa, who scored easily.

Al-Ahly couldn't bring Ajax in any more trouble, however. It was Ajax, with a hungry Mido, who had the best chances. The match ended in a 1-2 victory for the side from Amsterdam.