RKC coach Fred Grim was not exactly happy that his team immediately had to play against Ajax in the first exhibition match. He called it “physiologically irresponsible” because RKC had only trained seven times. Maarten Stekelenburg made his unofficial return to Ajax after nine years. Top purchase Antony started on the bench, just like Donny van de Beek and Nicolas Tagliafico. André Onana and Sergiño Dest were missing due to injuries.
The match in the Johan Cruijff Arena, which was played without an audience, was dominated by Ajax. The first chance was therefore for the team from Amsterdam. Perr Schuurs played well in Dusan Tadic, but he was sloppy with the possibility. Moments later, Zakaria Labyad hit the post. The first goal was not long in coming and was made by Lassina Traoré, who tapped in from close by on a pass from Quincy Promes.
Because the pace was slow at times, it was warm and because both teams do not have a match rhythm, the match in Amsterdam looked a lot like a game of summer evening football. Ajax did not have to make any effort to put RKC with its back to the wall. The team from Waalwijk managed to create almost nothing.
Both Ajax and RKC started the second half with a completely new starting eleven. Only Stekelenburg remained standing at Ajax. He saw how Klaas-Jan Huntelaar made it 2-0 shortly after the interruption. The assist was from Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, who himself signed for 3-0.
Antony’s 4-0 was the highlight of the second half. The Brazilian, who cost Ajax at least 15.75 million euros, outwitted substitute goalkeeper Kostas Lamprou with a shot through his legs. The pace slowed down after the 4-0. Ajax did try to move forward, but because of the slow pace it was not able to achieve much. RKC could do nothing but stop and was no match for Ajax.
Nevertheless, Grim’s team was allowed to cheer again. Fifteen minutes before the end, Teun van Grunsven took advantage of an estimation error by Stekelenburg and headed in the 4-1, but that goal was purely for the statistics. On a pass from Tagliafico, Antony made his second goal of the evening just before time, which earned him the leading role. Huntelaar also scored another goal.
It is important for both teams to build up rhythm in the coming weeks. Ajax will play against FC Utrecht in front of 4000 fans on Thursday, RKC will meet Almere City a day later.