City u15s quest for the Canon Lion City Cup trophy came to a disappointing end at the Jalan Besar stadium after a 4-2 defeat.
The introduction of the tournament’s top-scorer Ezra Walian proved to be the turning point in a topsy-turvy encounter.
City had a two goal lead going into the half-time break but a brace from Walian and a goal each for Nouri and Cerny mean that City will contest Sunday’s third/fourth place play-off.
Surprisingly, Ajax opted to leave out their star striker from the starting line-up and that plan had appeared to back-fire after just nine minutes, when Aaron Nemane put the Blues ahead with his second goal of the tournament.
Centre-back Joshua Murray was instrumental in the creation of the goal on nine minutes. There was a sting of passes in the City midfield before Murray’s marauding run took him through the Ajax defence and his cross was inch-perfect, picking out Nemane on the back post who arrived to smash home from an acute angle.
City’s second goal followed just five minutes later – a teasing corner from Adam Robinson was turned into the Ajax net for an own goal by Guido Janssen.
Ajax seemed unable to live with the pace and incision coming from City’s wide areas in the first period. Robinson and Humphreys showed why they’ve recently been called up for England u15s by bombing on from full-back to support wingers Wassi and Nemane on the flanks.
At 2-0, the next goal of the match was always going to be important and it was Ajax who found it, courtesy of a cool finish from second-half substitute Walian after he was played in behind the City defence.
It got worse for City just two minutes later, when Walian again made an intelligent run to get in behind and this time the striker fired a powerful effort under Brad McDonagh to level the score.
The 15-year-old could have completed a 10-minute hat-trick had it not been for the quick reactions of the City keeper, who somehow managed to claw out his effort in the 50th minute.
Credit to City, they showed character to react and force Josh Meendering into a couple of good saves after losing their two goal lead but it was to be Ajax’s night.
First, Captain Nouri curled the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box, before they grabbed a fourth through Cerny from close range with 15 minutes remaining.
This match represented the toughest assignment for the team since arriving in Singapore – Ajax’s reputation for producing their own players is without equal, so there’s no shame in bowing out of the competition at this stage.
City will play in the third/fourth place play-off on Sunday against the team they played first in the tournament, Vasco da Gama. Ajax meet Singapore u16s in the final after the hosts defeat the Brazilians 4-0 in the day's other semi-final.