Defeat for Ajax and AZ in Europe as next round hopes are dashed

A disappointed Steven Bergwijn of Ajax after the game. Photo: Olaf Kraak ANP

Both Amsterdam football club Ajax and AZ of Alkmaar saw their chances of staying in European competition over the winter break recede on Thursday night.

Ajax is now bottom of Group B with two points from four games after losing 0-2 to English club Brighton. The defeat was the first since John van ‘t Schip took over as coach and he said after the match he thought the Amsterdammers “had earned more”.

“We made it difficult for Brighton, particularly in the first half,” he said. “But we are missing power up front.” Third place in the group would allow the Amsterdammers to move down to the Conference League competition.

AZ lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in their key Conference League tie. They too are bottom of Group E, with three points from four games.

AZ started strongly and a first half goal from Vangelis Pavlidis was disallowed, but he then opened the scoring again in the second half. However, two goals from the English side later in the game put paid to Alkmaar’s hopes.

Champions League

Earlier in the week, PSV Eindhoven hauled themselves back into contention in the Champions League with a gritty 1-0 win against Lens while Feyenoord went 1-0 down to Lazio, a result that dented their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League.

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