Frank de Boer looked back with pleasure on the win against Celtic. He saw his offensive substitution, made shortly before time, pay off royally with Vaclav Cerny’s winning goal. Now, Ajax still has a shot at qualifying for the next round, although this will depend on Fenerbahçe.
On December 10, Ajax will need to beat Molde, who have already qualified. Should this happen, all eyes will then turn to Istanbul, where Celtic, who are now disqualified, will be visiting Fenerbahçe. The Turkish team are two points ahead of Ajax, but if they squander these against Celtic, Ajax would go through to the next round.
Frank de Boer admitted to the Scottish reporters that Celtic had had more opportunities than Ajax. “But we’re the ones who controlled the match”, said Ajax’s coach. “After the 1-1 goal, we should have wrapped up the match before the break. Because we failed to do that, it remained exciting.” Celtic fought for a chance at remaining in European play after the winter break, but was definitively disqualified by Vaclav Cerny’s goal in the final minutes.
De Boer: “Luck was on our side tonight. I’m happy that we showed character. In the final minutes, I decided to swap in a forward (Sanogo) for a defender (Van der Hoorn). That meant that we were playing with three men in the back. That was dangerous for a while, but in the end, we decided the match. It’s bitter for Celtic, because they might have deserved this more than we did”, he concluded.