A superb second-half goal from Lasse Schone helped Ajax to an unconvincing 1-0 victory against Scottish champions Celtic in Group H of the Champions League.
The Danish attacker scored a late consolation at Celtic Park a fortnight ago, but his finish completed a wonderful forward move that typified the Ajax style in an otherwise average display from Frank de Boer’s side.
After 51 minutes, Schone instigated a superb one-touch move from the right, linking with Siem de Jong and then combining with Thulani Serero’s cute back-heel to tuck the ball under Fraser Forster from inside the box.
Schone’s goal means Ajax move into third place in Group H with a one-point cushion over Celtic with two games still to play.
Neil Lennon’s side were industrious, yet couldn’t muster up anything serious in front of goal with a half-chance for Anthony Stokes and a tame free-kick from Kris Commons as close as they came.
Four minutes from the end, a corner-kick from de Jong was met by Stefano Denswil in acres of space behind Virgil van Dijk, who was excellent until that point, but the ball clipped Forster’s left-hand post.
The Dutch champions held on firmly to secure a massive three points in the Champions League – but there’s still hope for Celtic who face AC Milan in Glasgow in two weeks time.
17 – CHANCE – Cross from van Rhijn on the right-wing, aimed for Siem de Jong in a deep position and his glancing header is saved well by Fraser Forster.
51’ - AJAX GOAL – One moment of ingenuity clinched the three points for Ajax. Lasse Schone started and completed the move with help from Siem de Jong and Serero.
86’ - CHANCE – Corner kick from de Jong and Dwensil is unmarked inside the six-yard box and his header finds the post.
Celtic have only managed two Champions League away matches without defeat.
Ajax had 55% possession overall to Celtic’s 45%.
Celtic completed 86% of their tackles in defensively strong display in Amsterdam.
TALKING POINT: Can Celtic still qualify? Bottom of the group with two games to go might seem a bad thing, but Celtic are still in the hunt for a last 16 place. Losing tonight leaves them in an awkward situation head-to-head with Ajax, yet a win over AC Milan would completely change the dynamics of the group.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Virgil Van Dijk (Celtic) – The Dutchman was so dominant at the back for Celtic, marshalling the rest of the defence and sweeping up behind Efe Ambrose. A very mature performance.
Ajax: Cillessen 6; Van Rhijn 7, Veltman 7, Denswil 7, Boilesen 6; Klaassen 5, Blind 5, Serero 6; Schöne 7, De Jong 7, Sigthórsson 6, Poulsen 4, Van der Hoorn 3, Fischer 6
Celtic: Forster 7, Lustig 8, Ambrose 6, van Dijk 8, Izaguirre 6, Forrest 6, Kayal 6, Mulgrew 5, Commons 6, Samaras 5, Stokes 6, Ledley 5, Boerrigter 4, Pukki 4
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Siem de Jong
- Fraser Forster