Dutch Eredivisie

Getty Images

Ajax youngster Nouri returns home

Leave a comment

Abdelhak Nouri has returned home for the first time since 2017 after being placed in an induced coma as a 20 year old and suffering permanent brain damage.

The Ajax academy product suffered the cardiac arrest in July 2017 during a preseason friendly against Werder Bremen and he suffered serious brain damage and has been in hospital ever since.

His brother Abderrahim spoke to Dutch TV and gave a positive update on his situation as Nouri, now 22 years old, has been moved home with his family.

“He’s just awake. He sleeps, he sneezes, he eats, he burps, but it’s not like he gets out of bed,” Abderrahim said. “We talk to him like he’s not sick. We take him into our conversations and we watch football with him in the living room, for example. Then he watches. You notice that he likes that very much. He often shows emotions. Sometimes he is emotional, but often there is also a smile. That does us good. That makes you really appreciate a smile.”

The Dutch-Moroccan, affectionately known as Appie, was one of the brightest products at Ajax and at the age of 20 he had broken into the first team.

In 2018 Ajax admitted the situation could have been handled better as club doctor Don de Winter was fired. Ajax admitted that a defibrillator should have been used sooner and had UEFA’s guidelines been followed then “it’s possible that Abdelhak would have come out in a better condition. This isn’t certain, but it’s a possibility. We recognize our responsibility and liability for the consequences of this,” CEO Edwin van der Sar said in a statement.

Appie’s father, Mohammed, revealed the family now do a lot of the nursing work themselves and his son is responding well to be in familiar surroundings at home.

“The intention is that Appie keeps getting better,” Appie said. “We have to take care of him as best we can. We try to do a lot ourselves. We have less nurses and help in the home now. We do a lot ourselves.”

Chelsea grab huge win late on at Ajax

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea beat Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam on Wednesday, as substitute Michy Batshuayi scored the winner off a Christian Pulisic assist.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform? ]

Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea now sit top in Group H, leapfrogging Ajax. The hosts hit the post in the second half and were the better team for vast swathes of the game and until Pulisic and Batshuayi came off the bench to cause havoc late on in the Johan Cruyff Arena.

The UEFA Champions League semifinalists from last season had now answer to a mature Chelsea display, as the Blues’ attacking options off the bench made the difference in their sixth-straight win in all competitions.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

Ajax started well with and had a penalty shout for handball waved away, then Joel Veltman drilled a shot just wide.

In an end-to-end encounter Mason Mount cut inside but his shot at the near post was saved as the Blues looked dangerous on the counter.

After a poor defensive clearance the ball fell to Hudson-Odoi but he hurried his shot and wasted a glorious chance.

Ajax thought they had taken the lead before half time as Hakim Ziyech’s cross deflected to the back post where Quincy Promes tapped home. After a delay via VAR, the goal was disallowed as Promes was just, just offside.

Promes was in again moments later after good work from USMNT right back Sergino Dest but Cesar Azpilicueta recovered well to block his effort.

In the second half Dusan Tadic was a growing force in the game as Chelsea were pinned back by Ajax.

Edson Alvarez hit the far post with a superb diving header from a corner and moments later Daley Blind forced Kepa into a save.

Christian Pulisic came on for Willian for the final stages as Chelsea tried to regain control of the game and that is what he did for them.

Pulisic cut in from the left time and time against Ajax, getting past Dest to send a shot just wide and a deflected effort then fell to Batshuayi who sent his effort way off target from a glorious position.

But Pulisic then set up the winning goal as he beat Dest on the dribbled and pulled it back for Batshuayi to hammer home the winner as the subs combined to secure a sixth-straight win in all competitions for Lampard, and his biggest yet as Chelsea’s manager.

LIVE, Champions League: Barcelona v. Man United; Juventus v. Ajax

Leave a comment

Two finely balanced ties take center stage in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, as the quarterfinal stage concludes.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Manchester United head to Barcelona for their second leg hoping to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg against Lionel Messi and Co. It will be a tall order for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men, but he more than anyone knows that even the impossible is possible at the Nou Camp…

In the other quarterfinal second leg there is an intriguing clash as Juventus host Ajax with the scores locked at 1-1 from the first leg in Amsterdam. Cristiano Ronaldo is working his way back to full fitness, but the likes of Dusan Tadic will be aiming to secure another famous away win after they dumped reigning champs Real Madrid out in the last round.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, while we will have you covered here at Pro Soccer Talk with analysis and reaction from both games.

Tuesday’s UCL quarterfinal, second leg schedule

Barcelona v. Manchester United – 3 p.m. ET kick off (Barcelona lead 1-0 on aggregate)
Juventus v. Ajax – 3 p.m. ET kick off (1-1 on aggregate)

Amid Man United links, Mexico’s Lozano ready for big move

Getty Images
1 Comment

Mexico’s Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano is destined for big things.

His manager for the Mexican national team, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has been talking about the PSV Eindhoven winger ahead of their friendly against Paraguay on Tuesday and has added further fuel to the fire that Chucky is heading to one of European soccer’s big boys.

Amid plenty of reports that the speedy winger could be heading to Manchester United, Martino believes Lozano, 23, is ready.

“Taking an intermediate step in Dutch football or Portuguese football, that has been traditional for Latino players,” Martino said. “I think Hirving has had an influential time in Holland and shown he can be a player who is incredibly valuable and can make the jump to the biggest clubs in Europe. It’s clear. I think from the analysis side of the player, he’s absolutely ready.”

Lozano’s breakout at the 2018 World Cup for Mexico saw him finally arrive on the world stage, but anybody who has been following his career since a teenager will know he has been destined for the top.

The former Pachuca star has now become the star man for Dutch giants PSV — he scored 17 goals in 29 league games last season, and has 15 in 24 appearances this term — and a move this summer seems almost inevitable.

Lozano was previously linked with a move to reigning Premier League champions Man City but a move to United would probably suit his strengths a lot better. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sticks around as boss, as expected, then Lozano’s pace and direct style on the counter would definitely suit United’s style of play. He can play on both flanks and just behind a striker, and the fact he is chipping in with plenty of goals for the reigning Dutch champs proves he is maturing as the end product is now there.

Moving to the Premier League or La Liga is the next logical step for Lozano, and PSV will be compensated handsomely for buying the Mexican star in 2017. He is contracted until the summer of 2023 and would likely cost north of $60 million.

Second-half burst gives Ajax big win over Dutch leaders PSV

Leave a comment

For only the second time this season, Dutch Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven have lost a league match.

Ajax stormed back for a 3-0 victory over PSV on Sunday in Der Topper, the long-standing rivalry between the two Dutch powerhouses.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from the Manchester Derby ]

The victory moves Ajax up to third place on 32 points this season, while PSV remains atop the league table on 39 points.

David Neres, Lasse Schöne and Donny van de Beek each scored in a span of 11 minutes after the halftime break to five the hosts a comfortable result.

Neres broke the deadlock in the 61st minute when he stunned PSV with a long-distance volley that couldn’t be dealt with by goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.

Schone then found the back of the net three minutes later, while Van de Beek capped off the outing with the dagger in the 72 minute.

Sunday’s win also gives Ajax a slim advantage over their rival in the all-time Eredivisie series, 54-24-53.