Ajax started the Champions League adventure on Wednesday with an unfortunate defeat against Liverpool. The team from Amsterdam missed the necessary opportunities and lost 0-1 in the Johan Cruijff ArenA due to an own goal from Nicolás Tagliafico.
Tagliafico worked a cross in his own goal unhindered in the 35th minute, after Quincy Promes had just missed a great opportunity for Ajax. Dusan Tadic saw a bet taken off the line and Davy Klaassen hit the post, keeping it 0-1.
The other match in group D was won by Atalanta 0-4 at FC Midtjylland. Duván Zapata, Alejandro Gómez, Luis Muriel and Aleksey Miranchuk scored for the Italian club, which will be Ajax’s next opponent in Bergamo next week.
Ajax needs a result against Atalanta on Tuesday to prevent a considerable backlog in the battle for wintering in the ball of millions. First, the Amsterdam club will visit VVV-Venlo in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
Kudus falls out injured
Ten Hag came against Liverpool in the ArenA on Wednesday evening with a surprising line-up. He chose 4-4-2 with David Neres and Dusan Tadic as strikers and Mohammed Kudus as one of the midfielders to join, but the plan had to be changed within ten minutes. Kudus injured his knee and was replaced by Promes.
Apart from the injury of the young Ghanaian, Ajax started well against the Champions League winner of 2019. The first chances were therefore for the home team with a header from Lisandro Martínez, who played centrally in the defense, and a slider next to Ryan Gravenberch .
After more than half an hour, there was even a huge opportunity for Ajax. On a pass from Neres, Promes was able to shoot the ball past Liverpool goalkeeper Adrián from close range, but his weak bet went straight for the goalkeeper. Shortly afterwards it was hit on the other side. Tagliafico could just shoot a cross from Sadio Mané, but hit the ball completely wrong with an own goal as a result (0-1).
It was also not easy for Ajax in an amusing first half, in which the Amsterdam defense had their hands full with the fast attackers of Liverpool. Perr Schuurs also almost tapped the ball into his own goal on the stroke of half-time, but Ten Hag’s team also got a huge chance. Face to face with Adrián, Tadic opted for a lob that was cleared away a few centimeters in front of the goal line by Fabinho who had walked along.
Klaassen hits the post hard
Because of the missed opportunities and the backlog, it was a frustrating first half for Ajax and barely a minute after the break the ball just didn’t go in again. Klaassen shot hard from the edge of the penalty area and Adrián had no chance, but the ball flew back into the field via the inside of the post.
It wasn’t that Liverpool didn’t create any opportunities at all. Roberto Firmino headed past from a corner, but after that there was another good chance for Ajax. This time Promes’ shot went with speed to the corner, but Adrián had an answer.
In the meantime, Liverpool already seemed to take the busy schedule into account. With a triple substitution, the famous attack with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Mané went to the side in one go. One of the replacements, Takumi Minamino, tested André Onana with a hard shot into the short corner.
As time ticked away, the forces seemed to flow away at Ajax, while Liverpool started to look fresher. The team from Amsterdam escaped thirteen minutes before time, when Andrew Robertson failed to slide in a cross.
With strikers Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lassina Traoré as a substitute for Schuurs and Daley Blind, Ten Hag still aimed for a final offensive. That didn’t seem to yield anything, but deep in injury time there was actually another chance for the weary home team. While Adrián was on the wrong foot, substitute Jurgen Ekkelenkamp shot over, keeping it 0-1 and Ajax having a bad start to the new European adventure.
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