Ajax had it tough all through the match, in the face of unrelenting pressure from the Neapolitans. The visitors actually caught a great opportunity in the third minute, but to the relief of the entire ArenA, the ball narrowly went wide. Sloppy play on the Ajax side made it look as if they weren't really feeling it, but in the ninth minute a fine attack burst from left field, tapped over the line by Kudus. Ajax were 1-0 up!
Ajax did not enjoy their lead for long. Exactly nine minutes later, Raspadori made it 1-1, heading the ball in after a lightning - fast attack. Ajax didn't hang about and immediately shot the ball straight at goalkeeper Meret. But Kenneth Taylor's shot just wasn 't powerful enough to get past the keeper.
A great save by Remko Pasveer prevented the Italians from taking the lead in the 26th minute. It was just a stay of execution, however. Naples had a strong upper hand, and as the first half continued, the Ajax keeper let two more in, leaving the scoreboard showing 3-1 at half-time, and not in Ajax's favour.
Things kept going downhill in the second half. Two minutes in, Pasveer played the ball too hard towards Calvin Bassey, Napoli intercepted and Raspadori tapped it in again: 4-1. They still hadn't drained the poisoned chalice though, as Ajax remained sloppy while Napoli stayed razor-sharp. After just over an hour of play, Kvaratskhelia made it 5-1. With captain Dusan Tadic getting a yellow card for the second time in the 74th minute, Ajax also had to soldier on with just ten men for the final fifteen minutes.
All this made for an unsettling evening with a disastrous result. Because it ended up an eye-watering 6-1. Ajax has never suffered such a defeat at European level.
Ajax – Napoli 1-6 (1-3)
9. Kudus 1-0
18. Raspadori 1-2
33. Di Lorenzo 1-2
45. Zielinski 1-3
47. Raspadori 1-4
63. Kvaratskhelia 1-5
81. Simeone 1-6
Ajax: Pasveer; Rensch (84. Baas), Timber (80. Grillitsch), Bassey, Blind; Álvarez, Tadic, Taylor (71. Klaassen); Berghuis (71. Brobbey), Kudus, Bergwijn