In their Dutch Cup encounter against Excelsior Massluis, Ajax players joined third-tier team Excelsior Massluis in giving a standing ovation to an opponent who was battling cancer.
Striker Battling Cancer
Devin Plank, an Excelsior teenager, was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his fibula over a year ago and had not played since October 2020 – until he came on as a late substitute in his side’s 9-0 loss to the Eredivisie giants on Thursday. Plank made his first appearance since his diagnosis near the end of the game, with all 22 players standing by the touchline to greet him.
The 20-year-old striker was diagnosed with the tumor in January of last year after being taken to the hospital with leg problems. Plank has been taking chemotherapy since doctors diagnosed it as a cancerous tumor.
When Excelsior was drawn against Ajax in the Dutch Cup, his club regarded it as the ideal opportunity to reintroduce him to the game, despite doctors’ advice that he only play for two minutes at a time to avoid jeopardizing his recuperation.
About the Match in Dutch Cup
Even though Plank was only on the field for a few minutes at most, he characterized the experience as the ‘best moment of his life.’ ‘I am very happy to have returned to the pitch, even though it was a short time,’ he told ESPN after the game. ‘It was an unforgettable moment
‘We had already made four changes and I thought I was not going to come on. Fortunately, the coach did not forget me. I’m working every day to come back. I hope to have many minutes again as soon as possible.’
Aside from the heartfelt gesture, Ajax cruised to a 9-0 victory to go to the Dutch Cup quarter-finals. Danilo completed a hat-trick in the first half before adding a fourth after the break, putting the Eredivisie side 5-0 ahead at the break.
In the first ten minutes, defender Nicolas Tagliafico scored, and Youri Regeer also scored before the break. Substitutes Kristian Hlynsson and Mohamed Daramy also scored, the latter with a hat-trick.