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Anastasiou offers striking solace

Published: Wednesday 19 October 2005, 16.02CET
AFC Ajax's striking problems were temporarily forgotten as Yannis Anastasiou's double strike gave Danny Blind's side their first group win of the season.
by Berend Scholten

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Published: Wednesday 19 October 2005, 16.02CET

Anastasiou offers striking solace

AFC Ajax's striking problems were temporarily forgotten as Yannis Anastasiou's double strike gave Danny Blind's side their first group win of the season.
AFC Ajax's striking problems were temporarily forgotten after Yannis Anastasiou's double strike handed Danny Blind's side their first UEFA Champions League group win of the season against FC Thun.

Firing blanks
Ajax's forwards have struggled to find the net this term. Angelos Charisteas is yet to score in this season's European Champion Clubs' Cup competition, new signing Markus Rosenberg has only scored three times in all competitions and young prospect Ryan Babel has not registered a goal since the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Faith repaid
Thus, it was left to the 32-year-old Anastasiou to come to the Eredivisie side's aid. The striker had been told he could leave the club in March but Blind's arrival allowed the Greek frontman to prolong his stay. The new coach felt Anastasiou's experience could prove invaluable to the younger players. The former Roda JC player certainly set a fine example last night with two goals in his first start in ten months.

Self belief
"That is the beauty of football," said Anastasiou. "You start the season with 35 players and earning a place in the side is very difficult. I have never doubted myself, though, and all of a sudden I am the hero, which of course is very nice. We played good, high tempo football so this result was good for everyone at the club."

Blind impressed
The result was a relief for Blind, after a disappointing goalless draw at the Amsterdam ArenA against SC Heracles at the weekend, and he was thankful for Anastasiou's immense contribution. "Yannis may not be our first choice striker, but he did not just stay with us to play a role in the dressing room," the former Dutch captain said. "He has shown that he can also do a lot on the pitch as well, so it does not surprise me that he stood out tonight. He had already played well in his two games as a substitute and has all the qualities necessary to be an Ajax striker."

Last updated: 19/10/05 14.05CET

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