Ajax survive thriller in Rome

Ajax have done it! As perhaps the youngest squad in Europe the side made it through to the quarter finals of the Champions League, together with Barcelona, AC Milan, Internazionale, Juventus, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Valencia. Five draws and a win - eight points - were enough for a place among Europe's elite eight. The final necessary draw came in Rome. Andy van der Meyde put Ajax ahead after only 35 seconds. Cassano equalised 24 minutes later. The fans in the Stadio Olimpico saw a real thriller in which Ajax survived elegantly: 1-1.

It was a difficult match for Ajax in Rome. The Romans are having a disastrous season, which could only be salvaged by going through to the quarter finals of the Champions League.

Ajax went off to a great start thanks to Andy van der Meyde. AS Roma kicked off, Ajax took over and Rafael van der Vaart found Van der Meyde. The winger's curve disappeared in the upper right corner and Ajax had taken the lead after 35 seconds.

With the support of eighty thousand 'tifosi', Roma went on the hunt for the equaliser. Ajax lost the control over the match. The team had trouble reaching lone striker Ibrahimovic, Pienaar was invisible and Van der Vaart did not make his presence felt either.

Candela split Ajax's defence in the 24th minute and his pass came to Casano, who had no trouble putting it past Lobont: 1-1.

Ajax had to be careful not to allow another goal. Two minutes later Aldair hit the crossbar.

In the second half Ajax recovered. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was unlucky in a couple of great efforts and played well against the often three defenders that surrounded the Swedish striker.

Roma were still dangerous at times. Fortunately, goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont was alert. In the 61st minute he risked his limbs in stopping a great free kick by Candela.

Ajax had some more chances, mainly through Ibrahimovic, but there would be no more goals. ajax were very close to elimination when Panucci's header missed the goal by an inch. Shortly after the referee blew the final whistle and Ajax had done the impossible. Koeman's kids are through to the quarter finals.

,,I can be critical about certain aspects of this match'', Koeman said. ,,But I won't. The team have done a great job. It would be nice to play Barcelona (Koeman's old team) in the next round, but all the teams that remain are great. We are looking forward to the next matches.''