Mother Nature 1, Ajax 0.
A massive storm with hurricane-force gusts hit the UK and mainland Europe on Monday, and in light of the tough conditions, Dutch side Ajax thought it’d be wise to hold practice in their indoor facility - an inflatable dome.
Alas, it wasn’t enough to hold out the storm.
While preparing for Tuesday’s Dutch Cup match against ASWH, the team realized that the wind outside was getting stronger and stronger, concerning manager Frank de Boer so much that he decided to relocate training back to the outdoor fields as a safety precaution.
What a great call that turned out to be, because mere minutes later, Ajax’s inflatable dome collapsed to the ground under the pressure of the heavy storm. Thanks to expert forecaster de Boer, nobody was in the vicinity when the incident took place and there were no injuries. The club’s website later showed some footage of the collapse:
And here’s the before picture:
The Dutch Eredivisie is quickly becoming one of our favorite leagues here on the blog. Every weekend there seem to be crazy happenings on or off the pitch that demand our (and therefore, your) attention.
For instance, check out this historically unlucky goal conceded by Roda JC goalkeeper Filip Kurto against Utrecht:
See what we mean? Pretty much just par for the course in the Netherlands.
Also this weekend, last-place side NEC unfurled a giant tifo ahead of their local derby match against Vitesse.
Perhaps in homage to rapper legend MIMS’ classic lines “I’m hot cause I’m fly, you ain’t ‘cause you’re not,” the NEC supporters tried to intimidate their opponents with the message “We’re gonna win this, you’re not.” Brilliant. *Smacks head on desk*
Photo: Getty Images
Unfortunately, NEC lost the match in heart-breaking fashion, conceding the match-winning goal off the boot of Lucas Piazon (on loan from Chelsea) in the second minute of stoppage time:
It was NEC’s eighth loss in a row to start the campaign, which likely means that for the eighth week running, no NEC player got to cash in on the highly-coveted Man of the Match prize that the club launched before the season: a free bikini car wash. Bummer.
H/T Dirty Tackle
Photo: Getty Images
Aron Johansson was a relatively unknown commodity to most Americans when he declared his intention to play for the US men’s national team this summer. But now, Johansson is starting to raise more than a few eyebrows after getting off to a hot start to the season with Dutch side AZ Alkmaar (Jozy Altidore’s former club).
The Icelandic-American striker has already amassed eight goals in all competitions this season, the latest of which was this stunning, match-winning golazo against Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven:
Bet that’ll put a smile on Jurgen Klinsmann’s face.
H/T Big Lead
Add Zakaria Bakkali to Belgium’s “golden generation.”
The 17-year-old winger was added to Belgium’s national team squad for their upcoming friendly against France on Thursday, just a day after scoring his first goal for PSV in a Champions League qualifier. Bakkali followed that up with this impressive hat trick for against NEC over the weekend, announcing himself to the world:
There’s got to be something in the Belgian water, right?
After producing the likes of Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke, Axel Witsel, Marouane Fellaini, Simon Mignolet, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku— all of whom are 25 or younger — the Belgians’ seemingly endless talent pool has gotten even richer with the arrival of Bakkali. Are the Rode Duivels suddenly on the verge of becoming one of the world’s best teams?
Maybe so, at least on paper. One thing is for certain: expect Bakkali to play in the Premier League very soon. A Premier League team without a Belgian these days is like a ship without a sail.
This might get the boys to give that extra 10 percent.
Starting what may soon become a trend across the European soccer landscape, Eredivisie side NEC Nijmegen has come up with a special reward for its “Man of the Match” recipient — a personal car wash serviced by three bikini-clad beauties.
After a preseason friendly against La Liga side Osasuna, NEC’s first MOTM prize winner Victor Palsson promptly tweeted out a picture to make his teammates fume with jealousy:
— G. Victor Palsson (@VictorPalsson)
The club is hoping that the idea will make a difference in the players’ performances. After finishing in 15th place last season, just four points above the relegation playoff places, any extra motivation would be deemed helpful.
But a car wash might not be for everyone, so just in case, we’ve come up with a few extra MOTM rewards that might galvanize your players to go the extra mile:
It just doesn’t seem to be getting any better for referees.
Players are confusing the official with opposition players. Take this scything tackle during the match between RKC Waalwijk and NEC Nijmegen in the Dutch Eredivisie for example.
In normal circumstances, this was a red-card challenge, but instead, Waalwijk’s Jeff Stans gets a pat on the back from the man in the middle. And they say referees don’t have a sense of humor.
If have pre-ordered your club’s latest kit - watch out, anything could happen. Your club should take a leaf out of Ajax’s book and make some fans very, very happy!
Ajax’s brand new away kit designed by Adidas was hand delivered by the squad to a select few fans who ordered the new threads. First team stars Siem de Jong, Daley Blind and Kolbeinn Sigthórsson were all involved in the giving.