Ajax struggle to first place in Group H

In a match which was not the greatest in terms of beautiful football, but in which the team worked as hard as possible, Ajax booked a 1-0 victory over Celta de Vigo in the UEFA Champions League. The individual class of Zlatan Ibrahimovic led to the only goal shortly after halftime. Coach Ronald Koeman realised his side hardly earned all three points, but he could not be happier with the result his young team booked.

It was not an easy match for the young Ajax players. The Amsterdam team started well, but failed to create many chances. Headers by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wesley Sonck missed precision and that illustrated Ajax's play in the first half: not dangerous enough to worry the Spanish team.

Ajax also lost captain Rafael van der Vaart before halftime. The midfielder had to be taken off with a leg injury. He was replaced by left winger Nicoale Mitea.

Ajax started the match with Jelle van Damme in place of injured central defender Julien Escudé and the young Belgian international did his new job very well.

Shortly after halftime, Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed his special class. The striker went by four defenders and put the ball in the Spanish goal. Celta had to play more offensively after that, but Ajax could not benefit from the space the opponents left open. Instead, Ajax went through a tough last half hour. Nigel de Jong replaced Hatem Trabelsi, who was also injured, and ten minutes from time Yakubu came on for Wesley Sonck. Celta de Vigo did everything they could, but Ajax's defence refused to bend. Even when the Spaniards claimed two penalties, which were rightfully denied by referee Marcus Merk.

Ajax survived and took first place in Group H because AC Milan lost at home to Club Brugge. Coach koeman was happy: ,,Despite the fact that Celta are in sixteenth place in Spain, they are a good side. They play well together and have a good team. With our young age, I think we can say that this was all we could get tonight.''