Jong Ajax defeated Jong NAC Breda 1-0 on Monday evening. In addition to the win, another highlight was worth noting: Nicolai Boilsen’s comeback. He played his first minutes after being out for a long time due to injury.
Although Boilesen has officially been out of circulation for one year, his injuries have effectively taken him out for much longer. After he made his comeback in February last year in the home game against Manchester United, he once again sustained an injury to his hamstring. This was a nagging, reoccurring injury, first sustained in September 2011 during a duel against PSV. He was forced to watch from the sidelines for more than eighteen months, until Monday evening, when he played one half with Jong Ajax.
It was a wonderful moment for the 20 year old Dane, according to Gery Vink, the reserves’ coach. “He was very happy about it. He played okay, but it will take a while before he’s really back to his old level. But for him, it’s already nice that he can play again.”
The away match between Ajax and NAC was certainly nothing spectacular. Very few opportunities presented themselves on the artificial turf of de Toekomst , although the guests came closest to taking the lead. But Mats Seuntjes’ pointed shot landed on the post and not behind Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen, who had had an outstanding performance in last Thursday’s Ajax Europa League game against Steaua Bucharest when he came in as a substitute. In the second half, Danny Hoesen made a good attempt for Ajax, but his shot was whisked away over the crossbar by NAC keeper Bryan Struis.
The home team had a tough time against the Breda team – especially as they were playing in a very defensive style. Gery Vink: “They played a very compact game and kept waiting. They were waiting for a bad pass from us and then they came out very fast with a dangerous counter. We fell into that trap too often. Our final pass was often too sloppy.”
And it wasn’t the first match during which Ajax had a hard time scoring. “If you don’t convert those opportunities, you end up playing against yourself. That happened again, and then it got difficult”, observed the coach. “Fortunately we kept working hard. I can’t say that any player gave less than his best.”
The match seemed destined to end in a 0-0 stalemate, but that changed in the last minutes. It was Mitchell Dijks, Boilsen’s substitute, who was hauled down in the penalty area by keeper Struis. Referee Abbink didn’t hesitate and pointed to the spot. This was a great chance for Ajax to grab three points for the second time in a row, after the win at home against PSV. And they did. The penalty was taken by Miralem Sulejmani, who certainly didn’t let it go to waste.
This was to Vink’s satisfaction, who, despite the team’s mediocre play, spoke of a well-deserved win. “We earned it. All things considered, we did deserve the win more. It’s wasn’t high quality football, but it was definitely a welcome win. It’s good for morale, too.”
Jong Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Ligeon, Veltman, Denswil, Boilesen (45. Dijks), Sporkslede, Sana (84. Busse), Andersen, Hoesen, Serero, Sulejmani.