Blind helps Ajax win in debut
Ajax won in Volendam by 1-2. Daley Blind made his debut in the second half and played a big part in the eventual victory. ,,It was as if he has played in the team for years”, said coach Marco van Basten.
Daley Blind, son of technical manager and Ajax legend Danny Blind, came on for the slightly injured Eyong Enoh in the 61st minute, with the score 1-1. His first action as a player of Ajax 1 was immediately an important one. He pressured the Volendam defence on the endline and won a corner for Ajax. Urby Emanuelson took the corner and crossed to Luis Suarez. He headed the ball in and Jan Vertonghen gave the ball the last nudge, with his head, for the goal. ,,Daley did well to chase his opponent”, Van Basten said. ,,The team also played more calmly with him on the pitch. He is technically sound and he played as if he has been on the team for years.”
Nice compliments of the coach for the young Blind, whose parents were present at the match in Volendam. Blind junior was in the match squad for the first time against Volendam. ,,The idea is to take the best 18 players to a match", Van Basten said. ,,Daley proved this week that he belongs among the best 18. He sees the game really well.”
The player himself was obviously very proud. ,,It was great that I could do something from which we scored”, Blind said. ,,I expected only to get in if we were ahead, but I wasn't really nervous. I am happy with my play and of course that we won.” Blind played with number 39. ,,What I am going to do with my shirt? Frame it of course.”
Back to the match. In the Dutch Cup Ajax lost in Volendam, this time Marco van Basten's team came away victorious. But it was not easy. Ajax, with Dario Cvitanich as striker, were the better team and had some good chances. After the first 20 minutes, Volendam got more into the game and created chances themselves. The home side took the lead in the 41st minute from a counter attack. Aaron Meijers crossed from the left and Gerson Sheotahul scored from close range.
After Tim Bakens had hit the crossbar, Ajax came alongside with a minute to play in the first half. Miralem Sulejmani delivered the ideal cross and Suarez scored. ,,I was not very happy with our first half”, Van Basten said. ,,We had trained on an artificial pitch the whole week and clearly outlined our tactic. But it did not help much. Like in the cup, we were outplayed on spirit and mentality. We had our chances, but so did Volendam. Luckily, it went better in the second half.”
Leonardo replaced Cvitanich after ten minutes and a little later Blind came on for Enoh. Ajax took the lead through Vertonghen. Van Basten replaced Gregory van der Wiel with Bruno Silva in the 73rd minute. In the latter stages of the match, the crowd was the big winner, with many chances, mainly for Ajax, in a row. ,,There is still much to be improved, but I am happy that we won. That is not easy here in Volendam.”
Ajax remain in second place, three points behind leaders AZ.