THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE-JOURNEY BEGINS

YOUNG AJAX CHALLENGED BIG EUROPEAN CLUBS

WHAT HAPPENED?

This is the season when the long relationship between Z and the UEFA Champions League starts. The young, talented Ajax took on big team after big team and with Ibrahimovi? up front they managed to go to the quarterfinals, almost beating the champions Milan. In the league, they were one point short of PSV, one of those extremely rare seasons where Zlatan's team is not on top at the end of the season.

After deciding the Dutch Cup Final a couple of months before and having been part of the Swedish squad in the World Cup in Japan/South Korea 2002, it felt like a more "ready" Zlatan to take on the 2002/03-season. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and there's no question the first tough season in Ajax made Ibra more resistant to setbacks.

 

OUT ON TO THE BIG EUROPEAN SCENE

After winning the Dutch Super Cup in the season's first game (TROPHY 3), and having played four league games without scoring and also been on the bench a couple of times (new competing signing Mido had performed well), the Champions League-debut could not have started better. Against Lyon, at home in Amsterdam, he started and showed Europe the first glimse of the real, powerful Ibrahimovi?. It only took 11 minutes before he scored a beautiful goal (see video below) and then scored once more to kick off CL with a 2-0-win. Ajax played amazingly well against several big clubs (Arsenal, Valencia, Roma) in the two group stages and almost managed to get to the semi-final (!) but was knocked out by the champions Milan. 5 goals by Ibrahimovi?.

 

UNUSUALLY DIDN'T WIN THE LEAGUE

In the Dutch league, the race was between Ajax and PSV from round 1 with the rivals from Eindhoven being one step ahead all season. And when PSV won (against Ajax) 2-0 in March, being 10 points ahead everyone thought the trophy was theirs but Ajax managed to fight their way back, making the end tight. PSV was however stronger in the end and won the title anyway. Something we now know is extremely rare for Ibra.

 

13 LEAGUE-GOALS

Only scoring 6 in the league the first season, the pressure was high on Zlatan to score more goals and fill the #9-shirt. He did, finally. Like mentioned, in the Champions League he played great and the success there positively influenced the athmosphere in Amsterdam and the fans view on Z's performance but he had still only scored 2 league-goals when reaching mid-december. That's when it all started to happen. Koeman gave him confidence, starting him 12 straight league games dec-apr and Ibra delivered, scoring 11 goals, his best scoring streak so far, making it 13 total.

 

STEP FORWARD

An injury in May halted the season a bit, Ajax "only" won the Super Cup but the success in Champions League (5 goals) together with scoring 11 goals in the last 13 games made the future look amazingly bright for both Z and Ajax, he was about to reach the next level.

FACTS.


? CHAMPIONS LEAGUE-DEBUT (MAIN COMP.):

17 September 2002, vs Lyon (CL).


? FIRST GOAL:

17 September 2002, vs Lyon (CL).


? GAMES SCORING 2 OR MORE GOALS:

4.

? ALL ZLATAN'S GAMES 2002/03:

42 games: 23 wins, 13 draws, 6 losses.


? WHEN ZLATAN WAS IN THE STARTING 11:

35 games: 19 wins, 11 draws, 5 losses.


? WHEN ZLATAN WAS BROUGHT ON:

7 games: 4 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss.


? WHEN ZLATAN SCORED:

16 games, 11 wins, 3 draw, 2 losses.


? WHEN ZLATAN DIDN'T SCORE:

26 games, 12 wins, 10 draws, 4 losses.


Eredivisie: 2:nd

Dutch Cup: Semifinal

Dutch Super Cup: WINNER

Champions League: Quarterfinal

Eredivisie 2002/03

 
G
W
D
L
GF
GA
P
1. PSV
34
26
6
2
87
20
84
1. Ajax
34
26
5
3
96
32
83
3. Feyenoord
34
25
5
4
89
39
80
4. NAC Breda
34
13
13
8
42
31
52

"It was my Champions League debut - I had only played in the qualifiers before - and of course that was cool. Champions League had been a dream for me and the atmosphere at the stadium was fucking amazing."
"I did a a two foot dribble to the left, and both defenders were all over me. It looked like a dead end, but then I saw an opening between them, like a narrow corridor, and even before I had time to think about it I was through and came in front of the goal and saw another opening and made a shot, a low strike that hit the post and went in, and I went crazy. It wasn't just a goal, it was beautiful too, and I ran like crazy towards my friends on the side and cheered with them, and the whole team was after me, totally crazy, and not long after that I scored another goal. It was insane, really. Two goals in my Champions League debut."

- from "I AM ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVI?"

VIDEO 2002/03 - TOP 2

1. GOAL

8,1

AJAX 2002/03

vs Lyon

2002.09.17

2. GOAL

7,2

AJAX 2002/03

vs Groningen

2003.03.05

VIDEO 2002/03 - PLAYLISTS

PLAYLIST | EREDIVISIE 2002/03

PLAYLIST | DUTCH CUP 2002/03

PLAYLIST | DUTCH SUPER CUP 2002/03

PLAYLIST | UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2002/03

DAILYMOTION-PLAYLISTS

UEFA are continously removing Champions League-videos from the internet. The Dailymotion UEFA Champions League-playlist is meant to complete the Youtube UEFA Champions League-playlist. So all Zlatan's goals/assists should be in either one of them. If you notice a video being removed from youtube or unavailable, it would be much appreciated if you report it to contact@zlatanibrahimovic.com. Thank you in advance.

TEAMMATES 2002/03

Coach: KOEMAN

Goalkeepers: LOBONT | STEKELENBURG

Attackers: WAMBERTO | LITMANEN | YAKUBU | SIKORA

TEAM TROPHIES 2002/03

1 TROPHY

JOHAN CRUIJFF SHIELD

DUTCH SUPER CUP

2002/03

ZTATISTICS 2002/03

 
 
 
 
Start
Sub In
Sub Out
Goals
Assists
Yellow
Yel/Red
Red
Min

Eredivisie Dutch League

21

4

8

13

2

 

1804'

KNVB Dutch Cup

2

1

1

3

 

160'

Johan Cruijff Schaal Dutch Supercup

1

 

 

14'

UEFA Champions League

12

1

8

5

2

2

1008'

 

 

35

7

17

 

 

2

 

 

2986'

     

42

 

21

4

     

 

 
GOALS - WHEN?

1-15
16-30
31-45
46-60
61-75
75-90+

Eredivisie Dutch League

2

5

3

2

1

KNVB Dutch Cup

1

1

1

Johan Cruijff Schaal Dutch Supercup

UEFA Champions League

2

2

 

1

 

 

5

5

2

4

2

3

GAMES 2002/03

 

DUTCH LEAGUE

         
 
 
 
         
Start
Sub In
Sub Out
Goals
Assists
Yellow
Yel/Red
Red
Min

2002.08.18

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

3-1

Utrecht

 

69'

 

 

 

 

 

 

22'

2002.08.25

Eredivisie Dutch League

Vitesse

1-2

Ajax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90'

2002.09.01

Eredivisie Dutch League

Groningen

1-3

Ajax

 

32'

 

 

 

 

 

 

59'

2002.09.14

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

2-0

Zwolle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90'

2002.09.21

Eredivisie Dutch League

Roosendaal

2-3

Ajax

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

90'

2002.09.29

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

2-2

NAC Breda

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

90'

2002.10.06

Eredivisie Dutch League

Feyenoord

1-2

Ajax

 

71'

 

 

 

 

 

70'

2002.10.26

Eredivisie Dutch League

RKC Waalwijk

1-1

Ajax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90'

2002.11.03

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

3-0

Willem II

 

74'

 

 

 

 

 

 

17'

2002.11.08

Eredivisie Dutch League

Roda

1-1

Ajax

 

65'

 

 

 

 

 

64'

2002.12.01

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

2-1

Twente

 

60'

 

1

 

 

 

59'

2002.12.07

Eredivisie Dutch League

De Graafschap

1-1

Ajax

 

70'

 

 

 

 

 

 

21'

2002.12.15

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

2-4

PSV Eindhoven

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

90'

2002.12.22

Eredivisie Dutch League

Excelsior

0-2

Ajax

 

73'

1

 

 

 

 

72'

2003.02.02

Eredivisie Dutch League

Willem II

0-6

Ajax

 

67'

2

 

 

 

 

66'

2003.02.09

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

1-1

Feyenoord

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

90'

2003.02.15

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

2-1

Groningen

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

90'

2003.02.23

Eredivisie Dutch League

Utrecht

1-0

Ajax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90'

2003.03.02

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

2-0

Vitesse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90'

2003.03.08

Eredivisie Dutch League

Zwolle

0-5

Ajax

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

90'

2003.03.16

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

2-1

Excelsior

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

90'

2003.03.23

Eredivisie Dutch League

PSV Eindhoven

2-0

Ajax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90'

2003.04.13

Eredivisie Dutch League

NAC Breda

0-3

Ajax

 

74'

 

 

 

 

 

73'

2003.04.19

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

4-2

Roda

 

57'

1

 

 

 

 

56'

2003.05.29

Eredivisie Dutch League

Ajax

3-0

Heerenveen

 

56'

 

 

 

 

 

55'

 

21

4

8

13

2

 

 

 

1804'

 

DUTCH CUP

         
 
 
 
         
Start
Sub In
Sub Out
Goals
Assists
Yellow
Yel/Red
Red
Min

2003.02.05

KNVB Dutch Cup Round of 16

Ajax

1-0

Roda

 

35'

1

 

 

 

 

34'

2003.03.05

KNVB Dutch Cup Quarterfinal

Ajax

4-1

Groningen

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

90'

2003.04.16

KNVB Dutch Cup Semifinal

Feyenoord

1-0

Ajax

 

55'

 

 

 

 

 

 

36'

 

2

1

1

3

 

 

 

 

160'

 

DUTCH SUPERCUP

         
 
 
 
         
Start
Sub In
Sub Out
Goals
Assists
Yellow
Yel/Red
Red
Min

2002.08.11

Johan Cruijff Schaal Dutch Supercup

Ajax

3-1

PSV Eindhoven

 

77'

 

 

 

 

 

 

14'

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

         
 
 
 
         
Start
Sub In
Sub Out
Goals
Assists
Yellow
Yel/Red
Red
Min

2002.09.17

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 1

Ajax

2-1

Lyon

 

81'

2

 

 

 

 

80'

2002.09.25

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 1

Inter

1-0

Ajax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90'

2002.10.02

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 1

Rosenborg

0-0

Ajax

 

70'

 

 

18'

 

 

69'

2002.10.22

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 1

Ajax

1-1

Rosenborg

 

71'

1

 

 

 

 

70'

2002.10.30

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 1

Lyon

0-2

Ajax

 

77'

 

 

75'

 

 

76'

2002.11.27

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 2

Valencia

1-1

Ajax

 

60'

 

1

 

 

 

 

31'

2002.12.10

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 2

Ajax

2-1

Roma

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

90'

2003.02.18

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 2

Arsenal

1-1

Ajax

 

79'

 

 

 

 

 

78'

2003.02.26

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 2

Ajax

0-0

Arsenal

 

84'

 

 

 

 

 

83'

2003.03.11

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 2

Ajax

1-1

Valencia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90'

2003.03.19

UEFA Champions League Group Stage 2

Roma

1-1

Ajax

 

90'

 

 

 

 

 

89'

2003.04.08

UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal 1:2

Ajax

0-0

Milan

 

73'

 

 

 

 

 

72'

2003.04.23

UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal 2:2

Milan

3-2

Ajax

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

90'

 

12

1

8

5

2

2

 

 

1008'

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