Ajax beat Roma to reach quarter-finals of Champions League

Ajax players including Sherida Spitse (third left) during Tuesday night's game. Photo: ANP/Gerrit van Keulen

Ajax have qualified for the quarter-finals of the women’s Champions League at the first attempt after beating Roma 2-1 in Amsterdam.

Sherida Spitse’s 85th minute corner was deflected into the net by an Italian defender to complete a comeback win in the Johan Cruyff Arena.

The Italians put themselves in the driving seat for the second qualifying spot in the group when they took a 32nd-minute lead through Elisa Bartoli, but Tiny Hoekstra equalised with Ajax’s first real chance right at the end of the first half.

Spitse, who will miss the first leg of the quarter-final after picking up a yellow card on Tuesday night, said: “We should enjoy this, because it’s brilliant. The way we did it as well. I’m immensely proud of our team and everyone around it.”

Coach Suzanne Bakker, who was told earlier this month that her contract would not be renewed at the end of the season, said the club had exceeded expectations in its first Champions League campaign, winning all three home matches.

“We said at the start we were going to enjoy these six matches and show who we are,” she said. “Apart from the match in Rome I think we showed that in all our ties.”

It is the first time a Dutch women’s team have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Ajax will face either Barcelona, Lyon or Chelsea when the draw for the quarter-finals is made on February 6.

Paris Saint-Germain drew 2-2 with Bayern Munich in the other match in Group C to go through as group winners.

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