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Pre- Match: Ajax – Real Madrid

By Alex Camille

With just three days to go Ajax prepare themselves to meet Spanish giants Real Madrid on the last day of Champions League group stage. With three consecutive defeats against the Spanish powerhouse, Ajax will be looking to end the losing streak and get a favorable result in the ArenA on Wednesday. Even a draw against Real Madrid would see the Dutch side advance to the knock-out stage of Champion League for the first time since 2005/2006.

Ajax defenders will have to be extremely wary of Real Madrid hotshot and ex-player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo. Scoring in the last two meetings Ronaldo slotted in one goal in Real Madrid’s 3 – 0 win late September and two goals the teams 4 – 0 win on November last year. However, Jose Mourinho’s priorities lay in the upcoming Gran Derbi against FC Barcelona on Saturday. This means that they are more likely to field their second team giving Ajax their best chance to scramble a good result. Frank De Boer hasn’t released his starting line up yet but undoubtedly he will look to defender and current captain Jan Vertonghen to help keep Ajax’s defence rock solid.

Frank De Boer might be a bit too optimistic about the performance of his team in the upcoming match. However, current standings within Ajax’s group leave them in a good position regardless of a win or lose. With a three-point advantage over third-place French team Olympique Lyonnais even a defeat in Amsterdam could be enough to see them through depending on Lyon’s result at GNK Dinamo Zagreb.

Real Madrid’s current five win streak might be a good indicator that Ajax will have to rely on this back-up option to getting into the champions league. Realistically they will have to put a lot of effort into keeping Real Madrid’s strikers at bay and even then there’s no saying how long that will be for. All eyes in Spain and Holland will be turned towards the Amsterdam Arena this Wednesday, eager to see these two teams preform.

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Power struggle in Ajax management: Johan Cruijff bypassed by Louis van Gaal

By Maya Dupont and Willem Plasterk
AMSTERDAM – Louis van Gaal has been appointed general director of Ajax without the consent of one of the five commissioners Johan Cruijff.

Cruijff’s first reaction was of inescapable shock: “I don’t know what to say about this. I knew nothing about this. Absolutely nothing.”

Cruijff sees no future in cooperation with Van Gaal. “They have gone mad”, he said in an interview with Football International.

It is common knowledge that Cruijff and Van Gaal have been rivals for many years.

Cruijff is suspicious of the motivation of the board: “To begin with, I was in Amsterdam till Tuesday afternoon. It is quite a coincidence that there was a board meeting the next day. There is no way I could have made it.”

Members of the council have also reacted with surprise.  Accordingly, chairman Rob Been Jr. has demanded an explanation.

However, the decision is not final says Cruijff. “Let’s first wait and see what the club wants in it its totality.”

Until then, Cruijff remains a member of the supervisory board, despite his resentment of the appointment of Van Gaal. “It depends primarily on the club. Does Ajax agree or not? As things stand, I continue to sit as a commissioner.”

Van Gaal will not start his term until July 1 2012 since he is still formally contracted to Bayern Munchen, his previous club before he got ejected in April.

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Ajax back on track after winning from Dinamo Zagreb

By Gabrielle Davelaar AMSTERDAM- Ajax is back on track in the Champions League after earning a 4-0 home win against Dinamo Zagreb Wednesday. Ajax played its attack-minded style, familiar with most of its fans. First half goals by Gregory van der Wiel and Miralem Sulejmani set Ajax on the way to the crucial victory. A magnificent backheel pass by Chirstian Eriksen led to the first goal after 20 minutes with Gregory van der Wiel finding the net. Five minutes later a pass from Siem de Jong to Miralem Sulejmani led to another goal. Although the second half was not as spectacular as the first, Ajax twice scored to put the scoreline beyond Dinamo’s reach. After 20 minutes De Jong scored the third goal. Substitutes Jody Lukoki, Lorenzo Ebecillio and Nicolas Lodeiro, combined to score the fourth. Ajax is now second in Group D with seven points after four matches. Its main rival Lyon has four points after four matches. Ajax still has to compete against Lyon and Madrid. A draw may be enough to put Ajax in the competition’s round of 16. “We know that a score draw will do in our next match at Lyon but we are not a team that just can lean back on the counterattack, so we will also try to play our own game in Lyon but with cleverness,” commented Ajax coach Frank de Boer.

Categories: Sports

7th Special Olympics great success!


By Gabrielle Davelaar & Zahra Runderkamp

HEERENVEEN – The 7th Special Olympics for Ice-skating was held Saturday in Thialf in Heerenveen.

Participants for this event, which is focused on people with a mental disabilities, had a choice to partake in the 50, 100, 300, 500, 1000m.

The winners qualified for the European Shorttrack Event next year in March, organised by Special Olympics the Netherlands.

Eighty contestants from all over Europe will compete in a two-day  event, again taking place in Heerenveen. The winners will compete in the World Winter Games in 2013 in PyeongChang in South-Korea.

During these Games, the participants will compete in the following sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing, speed skating and floor hockey.

There are different sports events taking place for people with a mental or physical disabilities.

Amongst others, this summer the Paralympic Games will take place alongside the Olympic Games in London. This is one of the biggest initiatives of top sport for mentally and physically disabled people. 

There are three types of disabilities and for each there are specially organized sporting events: the deaf, people with physical disabilities and people with intellectual disabilities. For the deaf, there is the Deaflympics. People with physical disabilities can compete in the Paralympics and for people with intellectual disabilities there is the Special Olympics taking place.

Categories: Sports

Ajax secures crucial victory in Zagreb

By Christiaan Frankin

AMSTERDAM – Ajax took a big step toward qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League by beating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 at Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium Tuesday.

Second half goals by Derk Boerrigter and Christian Eriksen made the difference against a lacklustre Zagreb side.

Siem de Jong should have scored on 11 minutes after Zagreb goalkeeper Ivan Kelava failed to hold on to Jan Vertonghen’s powerful free-kick, but the midfielder-cum- forward missed a seater in front of open goal.

Ajax almost conceded after 37 minutes, when rightback Gregogory van der Wiel needlessly lost possession in his own half only for Ante Rukavina’s shot to go wide.

Van der Wiel was a torrid time at the heart of the Ajax defense, losing possession in dangerous positions on several occasions and also not impressing on the Zagreb’s half.

Despite several further chances from both sides, the score after 45 minutes remained 0-0

Boerrigter then opened scoring early in the second half off a left-footed strike for his first in the competition. Miralem Suleymani set up Boerrigter, dribbling past a horde of Zagreb players before playing in a good pass.

Eriksen put the score beyond reasonable doubt, snatching another goal in the dying moments of the game capitalizing on a quick counter attack.

Ajax moved up to second place in group D with 4 points, after its main rival Olympique Lyon lost 4-0 at Real Madrid

Ajax has a good chance of reaching the first knockout stage if it secures a win against Zagreb in the upcoming home game, and then a return match against Lyon.

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Euro 2012: Sweden stuns Netherlands to sneak in

By Alex Camille

AMSTERDAM – Sweden halted the Netherlands’ perfect qualifying record Tuesday, beating the world’s top-ranked side 3-2 to advance to the European championships.

Lyon midfielder Kim Källström opened scoring in the 15th with a beautiful  free kick after Jeffrey Bruma had fouled Johan Elmander on the edge of the area.

The Netherlands leveled in the 23rd courtesy of a great link up between Klaas- Jan Hunteelar and Erik Pieters.  Huntelaar notched the equalizer off a brilliant header.

The beginning of the second half was the defining moment for both sides as three goals were scored in the space of 3 minutes.

Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt was first to grab a goal in the 50th with an unstoppable header.

Two minutes later, Sweden equalized off Sebastian Larsson’s  penalty before PSV Eindhoven striker Ola Toivonen made it 3-2, smashing a diagonal shot from the end of the area.

Huntelaar almost scored his 31st international career goal after a corner from the left, but his superb header was parried by Andreas Isaksson.

A curling free kick taken by Rasmus Elm nearly surprised badly-positioned Michel Vorm as the match wore on but the Swansea shot stopper made a prompt reaction tipping the ball over the crossbar.

Sweden finishes second in Group E following Tuesday’s victory with 24 points from 10 games and qualifies for next year’s tournament as the best runner-up.
Despite losing its perfect record, the Netherlands will still be quite pleased with its qualifying campaign after recorded nine wins and one loss enroute to the finals.

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Sweden desperate for win against Netherlands

By Alex Camille

AMSTERDAM – Sweden takes on the Netherlands Tuesday in the final qualifying game of the European championships desperately needing a win to clinch its spot in the competition.

The Netherlands has already confirmed its participation in the tournament to be co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland.

The Swedes can’t book their tickets as yet.

Only a win would give them a place as the best second-placed side.

The Netherlands, which currently boasts a perfect qualifying record, thumped Sweden 4-1 in the reverse fixture in Oct. 2010.

Several key players are missing from the Netherlands roster.

First choice shot-stopper Maarten Stekelenburg is out injured along with Everton defender John Heitinga.

Midfielders Hedwiges Maduro, Wesley Sneijder and Ibrahim Affelay will all sit out with injuries joining Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben on the sidelines.

Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm will most likely start in goal, while Jeffrey Bruma is a likely replacement for Heitinga at the back.

PSV Eindhoven ‘s Kevin Strootman is expected to keep his place in central midfield alongside skipper Mark Van Bommel.

Rafael van der Vaart will attempt to fill in for Sneijder while Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie is assured of a starting spot on the right.

Forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss out for Sweden as he is serving a one-match suspension.

Six of Sweden’s players including PSV goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson, ply their trades in the Eredivisie.

Probable lineups:

Sweden:Isaksson, Lustig, Melberg, Majstorovic, Olsson, Larsson, R. Elm, Kallstrom, Wilhelmsson, Elmander and Toivonen

Netherlands: Vorm, Van der Wiel, Bruma, Mathijsen, Pieters, VanBommel, Strootman, Van Persie, Van der Vaart, Kuyt, Huntelaar

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