Ajax closed Open Day 2010 with a convincing win against Chelsea: 3-1. Without Luis Suarez, who is in Barcelona with his pregnant wife, and Gregory van der Wiel, who has a groin injury, but with Maarten Stekelenburg, Ajax played to a good number. Their meeting with England’s champion was a fitting close to the festive Open Day.
The friendly match was preceded by the celebration for the returning World Cup players. General Manager Rik van den Boog had, among others, praise for Stekelenburg. The keeper made do with a very short break and proved that he hadn’t lost any of his razor sharpness against the English team. In the dress rehearsal for the all-important first qualifying match against PAOK Saloniki, ‘Steek’ played his first minutes Ajax’s new 2010 – 2011 season.
“We played good football”, said the Ajax keeper after the meeting with Chelsea. “It can always be better, especially considering the goal against. It was sloppy. That can’t happen on Wednesday against PAOK. It was a very short preparation for me. Until now, I’ve only played one match, and next week I’ve got to be ready. But the guys are fit.” Ajax hosts the Greeks on Wednesday. A good foundation for the return match has to be laid. A week later, the clubs will play again in Thessaloniki to decide who will earn a spot in the play offs to participate in the Champions League.
Ajax were helped by an early own goal by Chelsea. Christian Eriksen made the pass from the right. Chelsea defender and Jong Oranje’s Jeffrey Bruma headed the ball past keeper Ross Turnbull. Siem de Jong, who was posted as a forward once again, witnessed the action from close by and was the first to cheer.
Twenty minutes after the opening goal, the London team pulled even. Daniël Sturridge did what very few World Cup players managed to do: pass Stekelenburg. With captain Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld watching on, the attacker scored with a quick, well placed long range shot. One minute later, Ajax took the lead again. Turnbull let go of a far kick from Stekelenburg. De Jong was next to him at lightning speed to shoot into the empty goal: 2-1. Bruma (under the watchful eye of Jong Orange national coach Cor Pot) was too late to stop the Ajax player from scoring.
Marvin Zeegelaar, the talent who had the chance to prove himself from his attacking position at midfield, missed a chance to increase the lead fifteen minutes into the second half. Face to face with Turnbull, the lefty saw his golden opportunity go past the English goal. Zeegelaar alternated between strong periods and sloppiness and ball loss.
In addition to Stekelenburg, Demy de Zeeuw celebrated his return to Ajax with field time against Chelsea. The popular midfielder – he enjoyed warm applause during his warm up – relieved Eriksen and was valuable right away on offense. In addition to De Zeeuw, Ajax coach Martin Jol also granted Urby Emanuelson (for Vurnon Anita), Daley Blind (Oleguer), Roly Bonevacia (Eyong Enoh) and Hyun Jun Suk (De Jong) playing time against England’s champion.
Controlling midfielder Bonevacia and right back Blind had a nice part in the third Ajax goal that evening. A fast through ball from Bonevacia reached Blind right by the back line. Suk took advantage of Blind’s pass and put the ball into Chelsea’s goal. A minute later, referee Bas Nijhuis blew the final whistle of the Ajax – Chelsea game. The closing chapter of Open Day, and especially the all- important dress rehearsal for Ajax – PAOK, came to a shining end.
Take a look at the Ajax – Chelsea summary and reactions afterwards on Ajax TV.
Support Ajax on Wednesday in their important match against PAOK Saloniki. Get your tickets for the first qualifying match of the new season.