The Ajacieds’ minds are not on football, but rather on Abdelhak Nouri, who was struck with cardiac arrhythmias last week, and has suffered serious brain damage as a result. However, a closed friendly match took place today, as the Champions League third-round qualifying match against OGC Nice will take place in ten days. Racing Genk was today’s opponent at de Toekomst sports complex. The duel ended in a 3-3 tie.
The Belgian team ended their training camp in Garderen, in Gelderland, with this friendly match in Amsterdam. The duel was the first of two friendly matches for the Ajacieds this Saturday. Marcel Keizer chose David Neres, Kasper Dolberg and Justin Kluivert on offense.
Ajax had a good start to the game and, after just two minutes, had put the ball into the goal. Justin Kluivert stormed up on the left side and slid the ball low past keeper Nordin Jackers. The Amsterdam team’s good start was extended by Hakim Ziyech’s goal. He scored after an attack that he had initiated himself. A long ball sent to David Neres came back to Ziyech, via Donny van de Beek, and Ziyech rounded off beautifully. After 12 minutes of play, 2-0 was on the scoreboard.
In the sixteenth minute, Genk’s coach Albert Stuivenberg was forced to make his first substitution. Joachim Maelhe was suffering from his ankle injury and was replaced. The Ajacieds were unable to extend their quick start. In the 21st minute, Mbwana Samatta scored for the Belgians. Five minutes later, Trossard tied the game. The players went into halftime with a 2-2 score on the board.
The second half started with an opportunity for Genk, and a good save by Norbert Alblas prevented Ajax from going down. In the 56th minute, David Neres anticipated a long ball. With his head, he was able to tick the ball before the keeper could reach it, after which the Brazilian was able to simply slide the ball into the goal. Davinson Sanchez, who had been suffering from an injury earlier this week, was replaced by Damil Dankerlui.
Keizer’s starting squad was exhausted in the 75th minute, and several Ajax Reserves players got their chance to shine. Noa Lan, Kaj Sierhuis, Reda Boultam, Dani de Wit, Teun Bijleveld, Zian Flemming, Danilho Doekhi, Darren Sidoel and Azor Matusiwa came onto the field. A beautiful goal from this legion of young guns was unfortunately disqualified due to offside. Kaj Sierhuis struggled with his arm, and he was replaced by Mees de Wit as a precaution.
In extra time, Genk had a penalty, which was successfully taken by Siebe Schrijvers. The first game after this harrowing week thus ended in a 3-3 tie. Next week, Ajax will play another friendly match in, and against, Olympique Lyon as preparation for the Champions League.
Score summary: 2. Kluivert 1-0, 12. Ziyech 2-0, 21. Samatta 2-1, 25. Trossard 2-2, 56. Neres 3-2, 90+1. Schrijvers 3-3,
Line-up Ajax: Alblas; Veltman, Sanchez, De Ligt, Viergever; Schöne, Van de Beek, Ziyech; Neres, Dolberg, Kluivert.
Line-up Genk: Jackers, Brabec, Samatta, Trossard, Colley, Malinovskyi, Buffel, Uronen, Berge, Manuel, Maehle