Champions League

Tadic rescues Ajax to earn vital point at Benfica

2018-11-08 07:43
Dusan Tadic
Dusan Tadic (Supplied)

Lisbon - Goalkeeper Andre Onana made up for his first-half mistake with a crucial last-minute save to help Ajax earn a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Benfica and boost the team's chances of returning to the knockout stage of the Champions League after a 13-year absence.

Onana badly missed the ball after a throw-in in the 29th minute, allowing Benfica forward Jonas to easily open the scoring for the hosts at the Stadium of Light. But the Cameroonian goalkeeper saved the team in the final moments of the match by making a difficult save on a close-range shot by Gabriel. He extended his right foot to keep the ball from goal in for what would have been the winner.

"I made a really big mistake," Onana said. "I made the wrong choices, twice, which led to their goal. But as a goalkeeper you just have to be strong and look forward."

As Benfica players put their hands on their heads in desperation after the final whistle, Ajax players mobbed Onana to celebrate.

"We didn't give Onana a hard time during the break because we're all in this together and support each other," Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt said. "And let's not forget that he has made fantastic saves during the qualifiers and in the group phase already."

Dusan Tadic scored a second-half equalizer for Ajax after Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos was late to get to a long ball into the area. Tadic got past him and just barely redirected the ball into the net from a tough angle.

The draw left Ajax closer to its first appearance in the knockout stage since the 2005-2006 season, when the Dutch club was eliminated by Inter Milan in the round of 16.

With two matches remaining, Ajax maintained a comfortable four-point (8 points) cushion over Benfica (4) in Group E.

Meaanwhile, Bayern Munich defeated AEK Athens 2-0 at home and are top of the group with 10 points.

On November 27, Benfica visit Bayern Munich, while Ajax play AEK Athens.

A win will be enough for Ajax to secure a spot in the next round.

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, Stadion Luzhniki 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Galatasaray v Porto, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 19:55
Schalke 04 v Lokomotiv Moskva, Veltins-Arena 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur, Camp Nou 22:00
Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid, Jan Breydelstadion 22:00
Monaco v Borussia Dortmund, Stade Louis II 22:00
Internazionale v PSV, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Crvena Zvezda v PSG, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Viktoria Plzen v Roma, Doosan Arena 19:55
Real Madrid v CSKA Moskva, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 19:55
Valencia v Manchester United, Estadio de Mestalla 22:00
Benfica v AEK Athens, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Hoffenheim, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Ajax v Bayern Munchen, Johan Cruijff ArenA 22:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Olympique Lyonnais, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 22:00
Young Boys v Juventus, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 22:00
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