The disappointment was palpable after Ajax’ 1-2 loss to Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League meeting in Amsterdam, but Dutch and foreign media were generous in their praise for the Amsterdammers.
‘Ajax have had their problems of late, not least a bruising 6-2 loss at Feyenoord, yet at times here they were exhilarating,’ said the Uefa website after the game.
‘The overwhelming feeling tonight is one of disappointment but Ajax played Real Madrid of the park at times and showed that they can still go toe to toe with the big teams,’ said Dutch football website Football Oranje.
In particular there was dispute about the Ajax goal scored by Nicolás Tagliafico just before the break. It was controversially disallowed following a VAR review.
Despite the disappointment, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag said he was pleased with his team’s performance. ‘I watched a very good Ajax playing one of the best teams in Europe,’ he said. ‘We dominated for much of the match. I enjoyed Ajax and I think the public did too.’
Ajax are currently six points adrift of Dutch Eredivisie leaders PSV and have three matches before the second leg, all against clubs in the bottom half of the table – NAC, ADO Den Haag and Zwolle.
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