Benfica stun Ajax 1-0 to advance to CL quarterfinals

Unable to win at house but once more, Ajax’s nice Champions League run has immediately ended.

Ajax couldn’t halt a 26-year winless streak at house within the knockout rounds of the European competitors on Tuesday, dropping 1-0 to Benfica to waste an ideal marketing campaign within the group stage.

Darwin Nunez scored late and Benfica reached the quarterfinals for the primary time in six years. Nunez discovered the web with a 77th-minute header off a free kick from the best aspect to assist Benfica make it to the final eight for the fifth time.

The groups had drawn 2-2 within the first leg in Portugal.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag mentioned he was “hoping for a second of magic” in the long run, nevertheless it by no means occurred.

“Our positional play was wonderful,” he mentioned. “We have been superb on the ball. I gave my gamers a giant praise. Perhaps solely the creativity was missing. So it’s bitter that one second of inattention means you’re eradicated.”

Ajax was one in all three groups that gained all six group-stage matches, together with Liverpool and Bayern. The Dutch membership was within the final 16 for the second time since 2006, although it reached the semifinals the final time it acquired this far three seasons in the past. It didn’t win any of its house video games within the knockout stage then both, with its final such victory coming towards Borussia Dortmund within the 1996 quarterfinals.

Ajax had already equaled its most prolific Champions League marketing campaign with 22 objectives however struggled to capitalize on its probabilities regardless of dominating in Amsterdam. It had 16 complete makes an attempt towards 4 by the guests, which targeted on defending nicely from the beginning.

Striker Sebastien Haller, the primary participant to attain in his opening seven Champions League video games and the quickest to succeed in 11 objectives within the competitors’s historical past, had a purpose disallowed for offside early within the recreation.

“If we defend nicely, we all know that in assault we now have nice gamers who can discover the area to attain at any time,” Benfica defender Nicolas Otamendi mentioned. “We knew we couldn’t give any likelihood to a crew like Ajax.”

Two-time European champion Benfica, which started this yr’s marketing campaign within the third qualifying spherical, was eradicated by Bayern Munich within the 2016 quarterfinals.

The win prolonged Benfica’s unbeaten run in all competitions to eight video games, although it was coming off a 1-1 house draw towards Vizela within the Portuguese league on Friday.

Within the different round-of-16 match Tuesday, Atletico Madrid superior 2-1 on mixture after beating Manchester United 1-0 in England.

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