Thursday 19 September 2019

Win over APOEL puts Ajax into Champions League; draw later today

Captain Dusan Tadic celebrates his goal. Photo: Maurice van Steen via HH

Amsterdam football club Ajax have placed themselves for this year’s Champions League competition after beating Cyprus side APOEL 2-0 at home on Wednesday night.

The first leg of the qualifying tie was a 0-0 away draw.

Ajax, who were without Donny van de Beek through injury and Noussair Mazraoui who had been suspended, were dominant in the game, which also saw a Klaas Jan Huntelaar goal disallowed following an appeal to the VAR.

‘Mission accomplished for Ajax who have secured safe passage into the UCL groups stages for a second season running,’ said Uefa reporter James Thorogood after the match.

‘APOEL proved a tough nut to crack, but unlike in Cyprus, Ajax were unrelenting and Ten Hag’s tactical tweaks certainly had the desired effect.’

The draw for the Champions League groups takes place on Thursday afternoon. Ajax, who put in a strong performance during the qualifying rounds, will be in Pot 2.

Ajax player Hakim Ziyech told the Uefa website: ‘For me it doesn’t matter who we face in the group stages. When you go to the Champions League you know you’re coming up against the best teams around and so for me it doesn’t matter who we are drawn against.’

Participation in the Champions League will boost Ajax’ coffers by at least €40m from tv rights, ticket sales and other spin-offs.

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