Ajax has lost its friendly match against Galatasaray. In the Akdeniz Universiteits Stadium, Turkey’s champion was too strong for Ajax, 2-1. Mike van der Horn scored the tying goal shortly after halftime, but it wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the finals of the Antalya Cup. Ajax will fight for third place on Saturday evening against Trabzonspor.
After an entire week of training in Belek, Ajax played its first minutes of 2014 in Antalya. The only smudge on the, thus-far, successful training camp was Riechedly Bazoer’s knee injury. Just like Nicolai Boilesen (recovering from the flu), he was not in attendance in the lively, sold-out stadium.
The match against Galatasaray was part of the battle for the Antalya Cup. The previous day, Celtic had defeated Trabzonspor in the same stadium. The final on Sunday will thus be contested between the Scottish and Turkish champions. Ajax and Trabzonspor will battle for third place on Saturday at 5:30p.m. Dutch time.
Ajax started off with its strongest line-up with captain Siem de Jong in the centre forward position. Jairo Riedewald was on the squad for the first time. On Galatasaray’s side, Wesley Sneijder was at kick-off. The midfielder was playing against Ajax for the first time since leaving Amsterdam.
Leading up to the match, the international had nothing but praise for both Ajax and Frank de Boer.
After just six minutes, Turkey’s champion took the lead. Burak Yilmaz took full advantage of a miscommunication between Joël Veltman and Jasper Cillessen. Cillessen had come far out of his goal and missed the ball, after which the Turkish forward simply sent the ball into the empty goal: 1-0. For Ajax, Viktor Fischer was by far the most dangerous player. The Dane made several attempts on Galatasaray’s goal. He seemed poised to even up the score in the 43rd minute, but his shot – on a pass from Davy Klaassen – was unjustly disqualified as offside.
After the break, fresh faces came on for Ajax. Galatasaray had undergone a similar metamorphosis. Sneijder had remained in the locker room, which Nourdin Amrabat, among others, came on. The ‘new’ Ajax erased the 1-0 deficit from the scoreboard rather quickly when substitute Mike van der Hoorn tied the game. The tall defender sent his header, on a Lasse Schöne corner kick, hard, into the goal: 1-1. Midway through the second half, Galatasaray took the lead again. Ibrahim Coskrun assured the Turkish team of a spot in the finals thanks to his spot-on low shot.
Keep an eye on Ajax TV for updates from the training camp in Turkey.