Champions League

Ajax secure spot in draw for Champions League group stage

2019-08-29 08:04
Dusan Tadic
Dusan Tadic (Twitter)

Paris - Summer signing Edson Alvarez and captain Dusan Tadic scored as last season's semi-finalists Ajax beat APOEL 2-0 in their Champions League play-off second leg on Wednesday to secure their spot in Thursday's draw for the group stage.

Mexican international defender Alvarez, a €15 million recruit from Club America to replace Juventus-bound Matthijs de Ligt, headed home from a set-piece two minutes before half-time as Ajax were rewarded for their first-half domination.

Tadic then controlled a crossfield ball from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on the edge of the area before rifling home on his left foot with 10 minutes left in Amsterdam as Ajax advanced after a goalless draw in the first leg in Cyprus.

There were nervy moments for Erik ten Hag's team, who thought they had gone 2-0 up just after half-time when Huntelaar headed in off the underside of the bar.

However, after a VAR review, the goal was disallowed for an extremely tight offside against Joel Veltman in the build-up.

Moments later APOEL had the ball in the net at the other end, but this time the offside was clear for all to see and there would be no precious away goal for the Cypriot champions.

Ajax stunned Real Madrid and Juventus on their way to last season's Champions League semi-finals, where they were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur. They had already edged out Greek champions PAOK in the third qualifying round.

As well as De Ligt, the four-time European champions have lost midfield starlet Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona since last season's remarkable run.

Donny van de Beek, who has been linked with Real Madrid, did not play against APOEL, reportedly due to injury.

Ajax will be in the second pot in Thursday's draw in Monaco, which is due to start at 1600 GMT.

That means they will avoid an early rematch with Tottenham or Madrid, who are both in the same pot. However, they could be drawn alongside holders Liverpool, who are in pot one.

The other clubs in pot one are Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Zenit Saint-Petersburg.

Club Brugge, Slavia through

Also on Wednesday, Club Brugge beat LASK Linz of Austria 2-1 to go through 3-1 on aggregate.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, the Belgians looked to have the tie in the bag when Hans Vanaken put them ahead on the night with 20 minutes left.

Brazilian forward Klauss promptly scored a penalty to set up a nervy finale, but the Austrians were then reduced to 10 men before Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis's late effort wrapped up the win for the hosts.

Beaten European Cup finalists in 1978, Club Brugge will be in pot three alongside the likes of Inter Milan, Valencia and Lyon.

Meanwhile, Czech champions Slavia Prague beat CFR Cluj of Romania 1-0, a Jan Boril goal securing a 2-0 aggregate victory.

Slavia's last appearance in the group stage, in 2007-08, notably saw them lose 7-0 away to Arsenal. They will be in pot four in Thursday's draw.

Read more on:    ajax amsterdam  |  champions league  |  soccer

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
Logs
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