Ajax has passed its first true test of the season with flying colors. Frank de Boer’s team was too strong for the Scottish champion in the Amsterdam ArenA: 4-0. Siem de Jong, Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, Thulani Serero and Daley Blind all scored. Celtic played the last quarter of the match with ten men after receiving a red card.
Viktor Fischer and Mitchell Dijks made their official debut in the Amsterdam ArenA in front of 24.000 spectators. Wearing numbers 35 (Dijks) and 39, these Ajax players were among the youngest in the starting team under the wing of new captain Siem de Jong. Derk Boerrigter, Miralem Sulejmani and Theo Janssen (calf) were missing, but will be working on getting fit next week in England. The same goes for Nicolai Boilesen, who joined the team on Friday for several exercises, just like European Championships participants Gregory van der Wiel and Christian Eriksen.
Siem de Jong opened the score in the thirteenth minute with a beautiful hard shot. There was more to come, as later on, to the rhythmic chanting coming from VAK410, De Jong also had a hand in the second goal. Ajax’s captain made a running pass to Fischer, who then handed it off to Kolbeinn Sigthórsson: 2-0. Seven minutes later, they struck again. Shortly after De Jong’s free kick brushed past the Celtic goal, Thulani Serero put Ajax in to the lead, 3-0. The South African simply domintated his opponent Thomas Rogne, and shot the ball past keeper Fraser Forster.
The fast-paced first half got top marks from Frank de Boer. “I saw positive things. We were hungry, and more importantly, we didn’t give anything away. That was true for the rest of the game, too. Moreover, I got to see several young guys in action. It was a great opportunity for them to show how they can perform at this level.”
After the break, Jasper Cillessen and Lasse Schöne saw action. Schöne thus made his debut as an Ajax player in the ArenA. Other than a near goal by Fischer, things remained calm in front of the Celtic goal, with 3-0 on the board. Until the 65th minute, when suddenly many things happened in front of the Scottish goal. First, Fischer saw his opportunity nipped in the bud by right back Adam Matthews. But because the defender had moved the ball from the line with his hand, the ball went onto the spot and Celtic was forced to go on with ten men – without EC player Samaras. Daley Blind then had the honour of scoring on a penalty shot: 4-0.
De Boer said the following about the Ajax Player of the Match: “This was a great test for him for the first time in his own stadium. He made a good impression against a serious opponent. But we’re still going to take it week by week with Viktor, to see how he holds out physically. It’s common for these young guy to suffer from a dip at some point.”
After an hour and fifteen minutes, the match was over for Fischer. With five other Ajax players, he made room for six fresh reinforcements. Ajax came on with a completely new defense in the last fifteen minutes. It was a nice moment for the central duo Veltman – Denswil especially. After they had heard from Frank de Boer earlier on that they would be part of the A-selection this season, these minutes against Celtic was a small taste of what’s to come. The real work starts for Celtic in ten days, when the Scots meet HJH Helsinki in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. Ajax may just meet Celtic again this season in European football.