Ajax 1-1 Inter (aet, 3-5 on penalties): Crisetig nets winning penalty as Italians triumph in shoot-out to secure inaugural NextGen Series title

The Italian side battled for much of the game with 10 men, after Ibrahima Mbaye was shown a red card, and hung on to win the tournament after a dramatic set of spot kicks
Inter beat Ajax 4-3 on penalties to win the inaugral NextGen Series title, after surviving the second half and extra-time with 10 men.

The Italians went ahead in the first half through Samuele Longo's effort following a wonderful through ball from Daniel Bessa.

But the Dutch side drew level in the second period thanks to an outstanding free-kick from Stefano Denswil.

With neither side able to make the break through in extra-time, the game went to penalties and, after Raffaele Di Gennaro made a stop from Joel Veltman's spot-kick, Lorenzo Criestig stepped up to coolly win the tournament for the Italians.

Ajax started the game well, with midfielder Mats Rits spreading the ball nicely, and captain Davy Klaassen looking good on the ball.

Inter right-back Simone Pecorini was booked in the opening 10 minutes despite his protestations for a challenge on Klaassen, bringing down the Ajax playmaker from behind after the ball had gone.

Referee Lee Collins was then in the limelight as he chose to award Ajax a free-kick when they were still in possession and looking to break into the opposition area.

Viktor Fischer dusted himself down and fired in a powerful effort that flew just over Di Gennaro's bar.

And from a corner just minutes later, Ajax came extremely close to taking the lead again. Klaassen's header deflected and bounced off the post and, as it looked to be heading in, Di Gennaro dived to keep the ball from going over the line.

As the game progressed, Inter started to get a hold of the game, and Crisetig was inches away from getting a header on Pecorini's cross.

Lesley de Sa was also beginning to make an impact for the Dutch side as the game went on, occasionally getting the better of Inter left-back Ibrahima Mbaye. He showed good feet to get past him, and from a cut-back, Klaassen's shot was well blocked.

The impressive Rits was the next player to go into the referee's book for cynically fouling to prevent a counterattack after he had lost the ball.

Inter's first real chance came around the half-hour mark, as Daniel Bessa was set free down the left, but as he raced through on goal his shot was well blocked by Sven Niewpoort.

Ajax then went close themselves, but another shot was scuffed just wide of Di Gennaro's far post.

They almost went in front again minutes later in controversial circumstances, as De Sa robbed the injured Mbaye of the ball before crossing for Fischer. The attacker scuffed his shot, and the on-rushing Fabian Sporkslede couldn't keep his follow up down.

Ajax were playing some good football as the half drew towards a close, with Fischer, Klaassen and De Sa combining well before Klaassen's long range shot was deflected over.

Longo then came close to creating a chance for the Italian side next, showing good feet in the area to get past his defender and fire in a cross, but it went harmlessly out of play.

Sporkslede then showed some classy footwork of his own, dancing past three Inter players, but couldn't find a team mate with his pass as he entered the area.

But as the first half headed into stoppage-time, Inter went ahead through Longo. Bessa was put through on the left flank and cut in towards the area, before playing an exquisite reverse pass to find the striker through on goal, and he got the faintest of touches to poke the ball past Mickey van der Hart and into the far corner.

Ajax didn't have time to recover before the break, but came out and found an equaliser almost straight away with a moment of individual brilliance from Denswil.

His partner at centre-back, Veltman had gone marauding up the pitch and earned a free-kick in the centre of the pitch, 25 yards out. The Dutch defender stepped up and whipped the free-kick into the top corner of Di Gennaro's net, off the post, giving the keeper no chance.

The game initially calmed down following the goal, with Inter getting more of the ball and Bessa impressing again.

But soon after, the Inter left-back Mbaye saw red for a reckless challenge on Veltman. He had initially turned the Ajax midfielder Klaassen very well, but as he lost control of the ball, the Dutch defender came across to block.

As Veltman won the ball, Mbaye followed in with a dangerous tackle that left the Ajax defender with some painful looking stud marks on his upper thigh.

Ajax were gradually building pressure as they used their man advantage well with some good passing moves. They came close when substitute Nick de Bondt's cross flew across the face of goal, but no-one was on hand to apply the finish.

With time ticking away, Klaassen came close to winning the tournament for Ajax, his header from Mithail Dijks' cross just kissing the bar on it's way over.

The match then headed to extra-time, and Inter came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening stages.

The Italian side were handed a rather soft free-kick around 25 yards out, and Crisetig curled a great effort over the wall and onto the top of the bar, with Van der Hart appearing to believe it had already gone over.

Inter were definitely the team in the ascendancy, despite being down to 10 men, and almost grabbed a goal twice in two minutes.

Captain Andrea Romano was played in by another great Bessa pass, but delayed his shot far too long and hit a tame effort that Van der Hart saved well.

From an incorrectly given corner, Bessa then placed a shot that Van der Hart saved well, low to his left.

But half time in extra-time came and went, with the tie heading towards penalties, and the woodwork was taking a hammering.

Denswil almost scored another magnificent free-kick, hitting an effort against the bar from almost the exact same blade of grass on which his first was taken.

Then Inter went straight up the other end and almost got a winner themselves, with Longo crashing a half-volley against the crossbar.

With five minutes remaining, Ajax had the ball in the net as De Bondt was threaded through by Klaassen, but as he slotted past Di Gennaro at the near post, the linesman's flag was raised for offside.

The last chance of the match fell in the dying seconds to Ajax substitute Hasnaoui El Abdelmalek, but his curling effort from the edge of the box was straight into the arms of Di Gennaro, and the match went to penalties.

Inter went first, with the outstanding Bessa whipping his penalty into the top corner, a fantastic effort. Up next was Denswil, who powered an effort into the corner.

Joseph Duncan sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with his effort, before Klaassen drilled his home.

Substitute Rodrigo Alborno calmly placed into the corner, and Di Gennaro pulled out a wonderful save from Veltman to hand Inter the advantage.

Van der Hart got a hand to Longo's penalty but couldn't keep it out.

But then drama struck as De Bondt's penalty was saved, handing Inter the win, only for referee Lee Collins to order it to be re-taken. The Italian team were furious as De Bondt was allowed another attempt, and powered an effort down the centre.

It went down to Crisetig with a chance to win the tournament and he duly obliged, placing an effort into the bottom corner to take the NextGen Series crown.

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