Ajax loses again to Napoli

Alvarez 1280
Alvarez 1280

Ajax saw their confidence dashed for the second time in eight days against Napoli. After being crushed 6-1 just a week ago, the Amsterdam team lost yet again against the Group A leaders: 4-2. Davy Klaassen and Steven Bergwijn both saw their names up on the scoreboard for Ajax in the fourth round of the UEFA Champions League.

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  • #NAPAJA

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 Things started going wrong quite early on in the game. Ajax had to deal with the first blow of the evening less than five minutes in. Hirving Lozano slipped away from Calvin Bassey, played a one-two with Piotr Zelinski and then again left the Ajax left back standing. The Pole tipped the ball over the Ajax final defence to Lozano, who was once again unmarked. He in turn headed it over Remko Pasveer.

As it was in the home game, the pace was furious from the start. After Ajax missed out twice, it was Napoli who handled the opportunities proficiently. Following an attack on the left flank, the ball was passed to Giacomo Raspadori at the edge of the penalty area. The Italian shot it right into goal.

Once the Italians were 2-0 up, the pace slowed down a bit. Napoli had the lead they wanted, and let Ajax play with the ball for a while. Schreuder's team occasionally showed some flair. At one point Kenneth Taylor joined forces with Klaassen, smashing right through the Neapolitan defence. But ultimately the midfielder just shot at the side of the net. In terms of opportunity, there was nothing more to report in the first half.

Schreuder made no changes at half-time and saw the team that started so badly in the first half then do so much better in the second. The first few crosses from the right set up no great chances. Bassey's throw-in from the left was right on target. He found Klaassen, who in turn headed it hard at the goal. Napoli goalkeeper Meret was right there, but ultimately had no chance against the midfielder's try at goal.

After that, the Italian team stepped up their game. That gave Ajax something to think about for a while, but then a stroke of bad luck sent them 3-1 down. Jurriën Timber saw the ball thrown at his hand from close range. Referee Zwayer did not call it at first, but was then called over to the screen by the VAR. The German referee then pointed firmly to the spot. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia unwrapped the free gift: 3-1.

With the Italians appearing not to push through after that, faith seemed to return to Ajax. Especially when substitute Brian Brobbey was tackled in the box and pulled to the ground. Ajax were awarded a penalty, which was shot in flawlessly by Bergwijn: 3-2.

For a while it looked like a happy final score might be in sight for the Ajax players, until captain Daley Blind messed up in the final closing moments. Oshimen's tackle stole the ball away from the captain, presenting him with an open goal to make it 4-2. 

Napoli – Ajax 4-2 (2-0)

4. Lozano 1-0
16. Raspadori 2-0
49. Klaassen 2-1
62. Kvaratskhelia (pen.) 3-1
83. Bergwijn (pen.) 3-2
90. Oshimen 4-2

Ajax: Pasveer; Sanchez (65. Baas), Timber, Blind, Bassey; Álvarez, Taylor (65. Grillitsch), Klaassen; Berghuis (84. Conceição), Kudus (65. Brobbey), Bergwijn (84. Ocampos)

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