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Ajax leave it late

Published: Monday 4 August 2003, 9.13CET
AFC Ajax successfully defended the Amsterdam Tournament as Europe's top clubs continued pre-season warm-ups. features

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Published: Monday 4 August 2003, 9.13CET

Ajax leave it late

AFC Ajax successfully defended the Amsterdam Tournament as Europe's top clubs continued pre-season warm-ups.
AFC Ajax continued their impressive pre-season by winning the Amsterdam Tournament for the third year running, as various UEFA Champions League contenders continued their warm-ups for the coming campaign.

Dramatic style
Ajax, who enter the Champions League in the third qualifying round, needed to beat Internazionale FC by three clear goals at the Amsterdam Arena, and managed it in dramatic style, having been level at 0-0 at half-time.

Last-minute goal
Second-half goals from Steven Pienaar and Rafael van der Vaart had put Ajax in sight of silverware, and in the last minute Van der Vaart beat the offside trap to set up Wamberto to score and keep the trophy in the Dutch capital thanks to the tournament's rule that teams pick up a point for a draw, three for a win and a bonus for every goal scored.

'A tense finish'
After the game, Ajax coach Ronald Koeman admitted he was delighted to see his side pick up a trophy, having missed out on domestic honours last season. "It was a tense finish but against the odds we did it and I am extremely happy for the team," he said. "Hopefully we can use this as a stepping stone to securing our place in the Champions League and winning the Dutch title."

Galatasaray win
In the evening's other game, Turkish side Galatasaray SK overcame Liverpool FC 2-1 in a match where the losers were reduced to nine men. Galatasaray had the better of the first half and deservedly took the lead in the 21st minute through João Batista. Liverpool equalised when Vladimír Šmicer crossed from the left for Emile Heskey to head in on 36 minutes, but Galatasaray were soon back ahead through a César Prates free-kick.

Red cards
However, in the final 20 minutes, Liverpool had Neil Mellor sent off for a tackle from behind, and soon after Steven Gerrard followed him when dissent earned him a second yellow card. The result left Galatasaray third in the table, a point behind Inter. Ajax's Maxwell was named player of the tournament.

United's perfect record
Elsewhere, Manchester United FC secured another victory on their American tour as they overcame FC Barcelona 3-1. Patrick Kluivert put the Catalans ahead on ten minutes but Diego Forlán scored two first-half goals to turn the game around. Substitute Ruud van Nistelrooij claimed United's third near the end, to complete a tour where his side also beat Celtic FC, CF América and Juventus FC in front of a total of more than 260,000 spectators.

Beckham's bow
David Beckham's first appearance for Real Madrid CF since his high-profile transfer from United ended in a 4-0 win in Beijing against a Chinese Dragons Select XI. Luis Figo gave Madrid a first-half lead, and after Beckham's substitution with 18 minutes left, Fernando Morientes scored twice and Javier Portillo added the fourth.

PSV victory
Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven ended their trip to London with a perfect record thanks to a 2-0 success against Tottenham Hotspur FC. Ji-Sung Park and Arjen Robben secured the win after earlier victories against first division sides Crystal Palace FC and West Ham United FC. Tottenham's local rivals Arsenal FC played out a 1-1 draw with Celtic FC in Glasgow.

Leotar shocked
Meanwhile, Bosnian-Herzegovnian title-holders FK Leotar may be going well in the Champions League, but their domestic league campaign got off to a bad start as they lost 3-0 to FK Sarajevo.

Click here for further information on the Amsterdam Tournament.

Last updated: 04/08/03 18.29CET

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