Ajax has solidified its lead in Group H in the UEFA Champions League! Erik ten Hag’s team defeated Valencia 0-3 thanks to goals by Hakim Ziyech, Quincy Promes and Donny van de Beek. The evening’s highlight was for Ziyech. After 9 minutes of play, he silenced Mestalla with his incredible goal.
Ajax returned to Mestalla after an absence of 17 years. Because both teams had won their first Champions Leageu group match, the stakes were clear from the start: a win would ensure sole ownership of first place in Group H.
Danger and genius
Less than one minute into the game, Ajax had its first big opportunity. Van de Beek received the ball after a good play deep in the zone, but his shot landed onto the legs of fellow Dutchman Jasper Cillessen. It was the beginning of a compelling opening phase, during with both Ajax an Valencia experienced some dangerous moments.
But one player on the field was not only dangerous, but genius as well. Ziyech made his way in and took a shot on goal from far out: spot on, in the upper corner! With this amazing goal, Ajax took the lead: 0-1.
Missed penalty Valencia
Despite the lead, the Amsterdam team had their hands full with Valencia’s counter attacks. The home team quickly had a perfect opportunity to score the tying goal after Edson Álvarez had made a foul inside the penalty kick area. Dani Parejo’s shot when high above André Onana’s goal.
On the opposite side, Ajax proved to be very efficient. Ajax’s made good on its next opportunity. Van de Beek made a pass to Promes, who sent his shot into the goal via Cillessen: 0-2. Valencia again came close to scoring, but Rodrigo’s shot hit the post. Ten Hag and company had nothing to complain about with a 0-2 lead at halftime.
Ajax sitting pretty
The second half began where the first had left off, with big opportunities for Valencia. A ball on the post and a fantastic save by Onana prevented the 1-2 from happening. A Valencia goal seemed to be imminent, but still, it was Ajax who struck again. Van de Beek received the ball from Tadic, took another good look at the keeper, and sent the shot rolling into the Valencia goal: 0-3!
Ajax was sitting pretty and didn’t give anything else away. Except for a shot by Lisandro Martínez which landed on the post, the rest of the game was uneventful. The three points were in, as was the lead in the group, and the party with the 2.500 fans who had travelled to the game could begin. There was a lot of excitement in a small area of Mestalla for quite some time afterwards…