Ajax closer to continuing in Champions League after win in Lille



Ajax has done well for itself in pool H of the Champions League on Wednesday evening.  Coach Erik ten Hag’s team defeated last-placed Lille in the Stade Pierre – Mauroy by 0-2.  Hakim Ziych was the hero with one goal and one assist.

The famed Ziyech – Promes tandem also struck gold in France.  In the 59th minute, the first sent the ball fluidly towards Promes, who only needed to tip the ball in with his toe to double the score.  Earlier this month, this formula was also on display against PEC Zwolle, Chelsea and Heracles Almelo (2x).

Play ebbs back and forth
The score was opened in the first half by Ziyech himself.  He only needed 2 minutes to bring the visitor’s stand in the Stade Pierre – Mauroy to its feet with a gorgeous low shot on a pass from captain Dusan Tadic.  After the opening goal, the game ebbed back and forth.  Tadic saw his shot get turned away by Lille keeper Mike Maignan, and Jonathan Bamba helped extinguish an opportunistic counter by the French team.

Zakaria Labyad, who was making his debut in the Champions League, was battered in a duel right before halftime and had to be substituted in the second half.  Ten Hag brought in Noa Lang, who had made his Champions League debut during the home game against Lille.

Ziyech very popular in Lille
Shortly after play resumed, Ajax had a big opportunity.  After a good attack, Promes was found, but the club’s top scorer’s shot was turned away.  In the 59th minute, the Amsterdam team finally struck again via the Ziyech – Promes combo.  Ziyech received a lot of support in Lille.  His name was frequently chanted by the attending Ajacieds, but also by a part of the French crowd.  A very young fan even came out onto the field to hug him: this is not allowed, of course, but Ziyech appreciated this and promised him his jersey.

The visiting team didn’t face many problems after that.  There were even opportunities to score the 0-3 goal.  A goal by Ziyech was disallowed due to hands, and Donny van de Beek hit metal with his attempt.  Lille had another good shot, but Andre Onana kept his goal clean.  The 0-2 score means that Ajax is in sole possession of first place in pool H, with 10 points in 5 games.

On Tuesday, December 10, Valencia will come to Amsterdam.  Ajax only needs a draw to assure itself of a spot in the Champions League after the winter break.  But first, competition games against FC Twente and Willem II await the Amsterdam team.