Wednesday 22 November 2017

WATCH - Ajax defender Joel Veltman produces the most unsportsmanlike move you're likely to see

Joel Veltman calls for play to be stopped before galloping down the line
Joel Veltman calls for play to be stopped before galloping down the line

Callum Davis

Ajax's Joel Veltman has defended himself after being criticised for a piece of unsportsmanlike behaviour.

The right-back has insisted he did not do anything wrong after pretending to stop the game for injured team mate, Bertrand Traore, before sprinting down the line to deliver a cross.

Sparta Rotterdam defender, Ivan Calero, was ready to challenge Veltman before the 25-year-old signalled for his opponent to stop so that Traore could be treated.

The issue of whether play should be stopped to allow an injured player to receive treatment has long been contested, but the 25-year-old defender used the confusion to his own benefit on Sunday afternoon, insisting he was just being "clever."

"I was just being clever," Veltman told Metro. "Bertrand went down and I thought to myself 'I am going to use this to my advantage'. I pretended to kick the ball out of play, but when my opponent looked behind him, I just went past him instead.

"I know that it was perhaps not the most beautiful thing to do, but it was just something clever, nothing more. I can have a good laugh about it.

"My team-mates told me in the dressing room that they would have kicked me hard had I pulled off something like this against one of them. What would I have done had my cross resulted in a goal? A goal is a goal!

"I think people are exaggerating all this a bit. It was not like I found myself one-on-one with the goalkeeper after it.

"But let's not turn this into something big. It is better to laugh about it than turn it into something big. I will not do it again, also because I don't think it will work again."

The Dutch centre-back was rumoured to be a January transfer target for Arsenal and West Ham, but it's unlikely his epic display of skullduggery would go down well in the Premier League.

With Ajax sitting comfortably on a 2-0 lead over 16th placed Sparta Rotterdam, Veltman received the ball on the right wing with his opposite number closing him down fast.

The 25-year-old defender controls the ball before acknowledging his own teammate, Bertrand Traore, who is clutching his leg and apparently in some pain.

Veltman appealed for play to be stopped, raising his hand and momentarily pausing before galloping down the right wing to the bemusement of Sparta Rotterdam.

Ajax were expected to make light work of Sparta Rotterdam, but the visitors frustrated the hosts in the early stages.

Bertrand Traore, who was making his comeback from injury in the game, broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time.

Four minutes into the second half Ajax doubled their lead with Hakim Ziyech tricking his way to the byline before finding Kasper Dolberg for a tap-in.

Telegraph.co.uk

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