Ajax has ended its training camp in Turkey with a 1-1 tie against Trabzonspor. The Turks won the consolation match on penalty kicks (4-3), relegating Ajax to a fourth place finish in the Antalya Cup. Ricardo Kishna made his unofficial debut after halftime.
Frank de Boer looks back with satisfaction on the training week in Turkey, despite the team’s last place finish in the Antalya Cup. With the exception of Riechedly Bazoer (knee injury) and third keeper Mickey van der Hart, everyone was able to get valuable playing minutes leading up to the critical match against PSV. The majority of the players have played 45 minutes, split between the two games. “I’m frustrated with the two comedy caper-like mistakes from yesterday and today. Because of that, we gave away two goals unnecessarily. You need to try and get this kind of mistake out of your system.”
The day after a 2-1 loss to Galatasaray, with Wesley Sneijder, Ajax faced another Turkish adversary in the same Akdeniz Stadium in Antalya. Trabzonspor lost the opening match on Thursday to Celtic, meaning that Ajax would play against the Turkish competition’s seventh-ranked team in the consolation finals for third place of the Antalya Cup. In contrast to the lively atmosphere against Galatasaray, there was practically nobody in the stands 24 hours later for the match against Trabzonspor. It created a spooky setting.
In contrast to the duel against Galatasaray, Frank de Boer had amended his starting line-up in two spots. Lasse Schöne took Bojan’s place, and the recovered Nicolai Boilesen replaced Jairo Riedewald at left back. At Trabzonspor, Bosingwa was the most famous name on the line-up sheet.
Just as on the previous day, the opening goal was caused by a defensive mistake from Ajax. Emre Güral took advantage of Joël Veltman’s careless moment, and Ajax was suddenly one goal down. Shortly after that downer, Siem de Jong had a great chance to tie up the game. Ajax’s captain saw his free kick disappear, via the keeper and the post, just wide of the goal. After that, Viktor Fischer had two opportunities, but he couldn’t erase Ajax’s deficit before halftime, either.
Ricardo Kishna made his unofficial debut for Ajax 1 after halftime. The forward, who turned 19 last week, formed the offense with Bojan and Danny Hoesen. His first training camp with Ajax thus came to a nice end. Just like Danny Hoesen, he had a scoring opportunity in the second half. Kenneth Vermeer saved Ajax from a goal against with a good save at the one hour mark. He thus kept his team in the race for third place.
Lucas Andersen sent the ball against the post in the final minutes. This was the precursor to the tying goal, which came a few minutes later via Mike van der Hoorn’s head. Just like the day before against Galatasaray, he took credit for the 1-1 goal. On a pass from Bojan, he sent his header resolutely into the goal.
During the penalty kicks, Ajax drew the short end. Stefano Denswil missed the first penalty, thus putting Ajax behind from the start. Rookie Kishna sent Ajax’s fourth penalty over. Ajax therefore finishes last in the Antalya tournament.
De Boer: “Of course I’m disappointed with last place, but it’s the only smudge on this training camp, which has otherwise been fantastic. We trained under perfect conditions at a very high level. Kishna made a nice debut. This week, he showed that he’s very close to being at the first team’s level. A debut is nice, but you need to show it day in, day out. With the Ajax Reserves, too. If he gives off a good signal there too, then he has what it takes to make his official debut this year.”