Solid win against AEK ensures spot for Ajax among final 16

Solid win against AEK ensures spot for Ajax among final 16

Thanks to solid  0-2 win at AEK Athens, Ajax has earned a spot among the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.  Dusan Tadic scored both goals in the second half for the Amsterdam team.

Wöber replaces suspended Tagliafico
Ajax was forced to do without Hakim Ziyech’s creativity (injury) and the unrelenting Nico Tagliafico (suspension).  David Neres replaced Ziyech once again, and Max Wöber, who had played a very good game in Munich (1-1), took the Argentine’s place.  Wöber took over the central left position and Blind moved over to the flank.

Chance for Neres
Blind saw a lot of action on that side.  Ajax built up mainly on ‘his’ side, and, with Tadic and Frenkie de Jong, the Amsterdam team regularly sought to attack from the left side.  At a somewhat low pace, Ajax attempted to find a gap in AEK’s tight defense.  They succeeded in the 27th minute when De Jong set up Neres in front of keeper Barkas with a perfect pass.  The Brazilian’s header was an easy catch for the half-Dutch Greek goalie.

Free kick over
A few minutes later, Ajax came close to scoring again.  Lasse Schöne sent his free kick over the goal.  AEK had another opportunity, but Andre Onana made 2 good saves and thus prevented the incoming Galapoulos from providing the Athens team with a lead.

Scare for De Ligt
In the 54th minute, a scary moment occurred when Matthijs de Ligt collided against Dmytro Chgrynskiy in a header duel.  Both Ajax’s captain and the Greek defender were fortunately able to continue playing.

In the 62nd minute, the game came to an end for Dolberg.  Ten Hag brought him to the sideline in favour of Klaas Jan Huntelaar.  The striker was on top of it when Van de Beek, on a pass from Tadic, sent a shot onto the post.

Red for AEK, penalty kick Ajax
Ajax’s kept up the pressure and in the 37th minute, it paid off.  Ajax took a well-deserved lead.  Hands by Livaja earned the defender his second yellow card, and the Amsterdam team a penalty kick.  Tadic’s shot made good, 1-0!

0-2 Tadic!
Shortly after, Wöber had the opportunity to double the score, but he just missed.  But Tadic didn’t, in the 72nd minute.  After a beautiful combination via Neres and Huntelaar, the substitute sent a pass to the Serbian player.  His shot passe Barkas flawlessly, 0-2!

First time in 13 years

In the final minutes, AEK had one more opportunity, but Onana made a stylish save.  Ajax thus qualifies for the knock-out phase of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 13 years.