Ajax have defeated FC Copenhagen in Denmark in the first of two qualifying matches for the Champions League. Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored both goals in the 2-1 win for the Dutch side.
Ajax struggled long and hard against the physically strong Danish champions. The game plan had said that Ajax should avoid the physical confrontations with the home side, and let the technically skilled football prevail.
But for a long time, the physical approach of FC Copenhagen worked. And still, Ajax were the first to score. Klaas Jan Huntelaar finished off the first really dangerous Ajax possession with a good header: 0-1.
In added time, the home team´s approach of trying to create set-pieces paid off. Heitinga brought down former Ajax player Jesper Grønkjaer and from the resulting free kick Hangeland headed the ball in: 1-1.
As time went on in the second half, Ajax grew stronger and Copenhagen grew more tired. Coach Henk ten Cate brought on Ryan Babel and he gave his team the necessary impulses. Ajax managed to string together more combinations and from the best one it was Huntelaar again who scored. He took the ball with his back to the goal, turned, fired and scored: 1-2.
,,We had our difficulties, but we won and that´s all that matters´´, said Ten Cate. ,,I am pleased with this win, especially if you consider that we haven´t had much time to prepare. We took a big step toward qualification.´´