In the Preseason series, Ajax Showtime observes Ajax’s preparation for the 2022/2023 season. The third episode focuses on the second practice match against SC Paderborn, which was lost in the second half.
After Ajax beat SV Meppen 3-0 on Tuesday evening, it was time for the second practice match of the training camp in De Lutte on Saturday afternoon. The team from Amsterdam lost 2-5 to SC Paderborn. Of course the internationals were missing, but last year’s youth and bench seats were given another chance by Alfred Schreuder.
In the first half of the match Ajax made a good impression, with an outstanding Mohamed Ihattaren. Schreuder again opted for a number 10 against SC Paderborn in the person of Naci Ünüvar. He formed the midfielder together with Youri Regeer and Kian Fitz-Jim. Furthermore, the combination on the right side was also striking, with Sean Klaiber and Ihattaren.
Thanks to two goals from Ihattaren, Ajax went into halftime with a 2-1 lead. But in the end, the team from Amsterdam did not win, because in the second half they gave it away. There were plenty of substitutions and at one point many players from the Under 18s from last year were on the field. It was 2-2 until the 75th minute, but things went wrong in the final phase, partly due to two mistakes by Patrickson Delgado. He handed in the ball clumsily at the 2-3 and 2-4.
Gorter was allowed to participate in half against SV Meppen and on Saturday the keeper was under the bar for ninety minutes. His competitors Remko Pasveer and Maarten Stekelenburg are both struggling with injuries, so there are opportunities for Gorter. The 22-year-old goalkeeper can show his best side during this preparation in the battle for the goalkeeper position. He was able to show what he can do against SC Paderborn, especially in the second half.
The Ajax goalie had some very good reflexes and saves. In addition, the goalkeeper also showed that he can play football well and does not get stressed easily. In the second half, for example, he was put under pressure, but he knocked the ball over the attacker’s foot and then calmly continued to play. Gorter can therefore play football well and also showed that he has good saves in the house, but in the final phase the goalkeeper made a mistake. At the 2-5 he came very far from his goal, in a place where he really has nothing to do. The Ajax goalkeeper will be disappointed with the last goal against. Whether Schreuder has enough confidence in Gorter as the first keeper must become clear in the coming weeks.
Klaiber started again on Saturday afternoon in the starting line-up of Ajax. The right back was even captain during the duel with SC Paderborn. During this season Klaiber has to compete with Devyne Rensch and Regeer. In the initial phase of the preparation, the most experienced right back can show himself, because Regeer plays in midfield and Rensch joins later. That could be an advantage for Klaiber in the competition.
The Ajax back only played in the first half and did so well offensively. For example, before Ünüvar’s chance, Klaiber Ihattaren put away with a nice pass. The right back was a good couple with Ihattaren anyway. Schreuder was also busy with the duo on the side. During the drinking breaks, the trainer talked a lot with Klaiber and Ihattaren. Defensively, the right back was not always well positioned, but he showed himself when playing football. Whether he will replace Noussair Mazraoui this season remains to be seen, but if not, Klaiber will at least be a good backup at right-back.
Mohamed Ihattaren is the man in shape so far during this preparation. The Ajax player played for an hour on Saturday and again had a free role on the right side. Ihattaren sometimes threw open the box of tricks again, for example he played the ball twice with his heel on Regeer. In addition, the twenty-year-old attacker was involved in many dangerous attacks by Ajax in the first half.
Ihattaren was already doing well against SV Meppen, but he did not score. During the exhibition game with SC Paderborn, the Ajax player was accurate, twice. After four minutes, after a combination with Ünüvar, he got the ball at his feet and shot the 1-1 with the right hand. But his best goal was the second goal. After 24 minutes, Ajax got a free kick, Ihattaren stood behind it and shot the ball brilliantly into the right corner. The Utrechter showed his class and again gave Schreuder a business card on Saturday.
Regeer was allowed to play in midfield during the first two games of the preparation. Last year he played in Jong Ajax in both midfield and right-back. After Mazraoui’s departure, there are opportunities at the back position, but for now Schreuder only uses the young Regeer as a midfielder. The eighteen-year-old Ajax player started again as a controlling midfielder against SC Paderborn, together with Kian Fitz-Jim.
During the exhibition game in Oldenzaal, Regeer played a somewhat disappointing match. The talented Ajax player was regularly sloppy in possession. Regeer did not play strikingly, while you can expect that from the captain of Young Ajax and from someone who can seize his chance in Ajax 1. Before the rejected 3-1, he did show his class with a beautiful pass to Tristan Gooijer . The question for next season is which position Regeer is eligible for. Now Schreuder uses him as a midfielder, but who knows, he may still have opportunities as a right back. That is a place where there seem to be more opportunities for the only eighteen-year-old Ajax player.
Finally, let’s take a look at Patrickson Delgado. He has been hired from Independiente del Valle since the last winter break and played in Jong Ajax last season. The Ecuadorian is only eighteen years old and will be rented until June 2023. In the minutes played in Young Ajax, the midfielder made a good impression and on Saturday he was allowed to make his debut in the first team.
Delgado was allowed to fill in for Ajax immediately after the break. He regularly found himself in risky situations in which he lost the ball, for example due to a bad assumption. That happened to him prior to the 2-3. A minute later, Delgado got the ball again and was put under pressure by two SC Paderborn players. Under pressure, the midfielder gave the ball away to an opponent. The Germans tapped the ball around and eventually scored the 2-4. Delgado’s unofficial debut in Ajax 1 was not good, the Ecuadorian had an off-day and that can happen. Especially because of the tension of the debut.
Niels Opdam (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Read more Preseason:
#1 – Schreuder’s vision, transfer developments and upcoming talents
#2 – Schreuder gets what he wants and sees creatives Ihattaren, Hansen and Ünüvar excel