AFC Ajax won the Dutch UEFA Champions League play-off tie for the second season running as a 3-0 victory against AZ Alkmaar in Amsterdam earned them a 4-2 aggregate win.
Ajax overhauled a 2-1 first-leg deficit and now progress to this summer's third qualifying round. The home side started quietly but became more effective after the half-hour when Nicolae Mitea was replaced by Tom De Mul, who caused problems for the AZ defence with his speed. Nevertheless, it was Shota Arveladze who went closest to opening the scoring for AZ when his effort hit the crossbar.
The first goal came ten minutes into the second half when John Heitinga was left unmarked in the area from a Kenneth Perez free-kick and he did not pass up the opportunity. The unfortunate Ryan Donk deflected a De Mul cross into his own net to make it 2-0 two minutes later and Gabri wrapped up the scoring with a minute to go, making the most of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's assist.
Having earned a return to UEFA Champions League qualifying, Ajax will hope to do better than last season when they fell to FC København to miss out on the group stage. AZ, meanwhile, will start in the UEFA Cup for the fourth season in a row, some consolation for Louis van Gaal and his side after they missed out on the Eredivisie crown on the final day the season to PSV Eindhoven before succumbing to Ajax on penalties in the Dutch Cup final.
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