On Thursday afternoon the Ajax Reserves drew one all in the friendly match against the Manchester City Reserves. Rain poured down at sports complex The Academy when intern Joshua Mayele scored the goal for Ajax. After half time the English squad drew level through a penalty. The Ajax Reserves played most of the second half with only ten players, after substitute Johan Kappelhof was shown the red card.
Some notable names were on the pitch for Ajax. Besides Evander Sno making his re-entry, the interns, Henri Toivomaki and Joshua Mayele also demonstrated their abilities at The Academy. The Finnish right back and the Nigerian right winger practiced with Ajax last week and made their first appearance in a match in the friendly against the talents from Manchester.
In the tenth minute Mayele scored the opening goal for the Ajax Reserves. That goal was followed on both sides by more opportunities, but 1-0 remained the score until half time. Half an hour into the game the home team got off lightly when Jeremy Helan appeared to have the equaliser on the tip of his shoe. After a poor defence by Ajax the attacker came face to face with keeper Marco Bizot. Luckily for the Ajax Reserves Helan wasn’t alert enough in front of the goal and Bizot managed to prevent one all.
The match Ajax Reserves - Manchester City Academy is a part of a trial in which the possibilities are being explored for setting up a European League for the Reserves. Besides Ajax and Manchester City, Chelsea, Sporting Lisbon, Liverpool and Celtic, amongst others, are actively involved with the potential development of such a league.
After an hour of play the visitors from England scored the equaliser. According to the referee substitute Johan Kappelhof deliberately caused a handball in the penalty area and so the substitute was shown the red card and had to leave the pitch after only fifteen minutes of playing time. The penalty which was consequently awarded was put to good use by striker John Guidetti: 1-1. The managers Bryan Roy and Albert van der Dussen brought in various substitutes in the remaining course of the match. Keeper Jordy Deckers was also given playing time, but the score remained unaltered.
After the match team manager Roy spoke of ‘a good initiative’ to have international Reserves playing each other. ,,Teams from other countries often have a different concept of play to the teams here in The Netherlands. You could see for instance today that with Manchester City everything is just that little bit more physical. You don’t come across opponents like that very often in Holland. That was a good learning point for us.”
Roy was happy about the re-entry of Sno. Less than two months after the midfielder collapsed during one of the Ajax Reserves’ matches due to cardiac arrhythmia, he played his first match again. ,,He played well. This will give him a boost. Now he has come through his first match so well, he can look ahead once more.”