Zlatan Ibrahimović scored on his return to the Amsterdam ArenA as AC Milan kept their UEFA Champions League Group G campaign on track after a 1-1 draw at AFC Ajax.
The home side made a bright start and deservedly forged ahead through Mounir El Hamdaoui on 23 minutes. Milan were level before half-time as their former Ajax duo combined, Clarence Seedorf teeing up Zlatan Ibrahimović to fire in from close range. There was little to choose between the teams thereafter, with neither coming close to forcing a winner.
It was in contrast to a lively start. Luis Suárez made his intentions clear as early as the 12th minute with a dipping shot from distance that only just cleared Christian Abbiati's bar. Seedorf then cleverly released Robinho, whose low drive was well parried by Maarten Stekelenburg.
But it was Martin Jol's side who were playing with real confidence, and midway through the first period they were ahead. Suárez brilliantly flicked a pass from Urby Emanuelson through Alessandro Nesta's legs, before sliding the ball for El Hamdaoui to turn smartly and drill a shot high into the net.
The visitors squandered a glorious opportunity to restore parity shortly after. Once again Seedorf set Robinho free, this time one-on-one with Stekelenburg; but the Brazilian dithered before missing the target with a weak effort. Ibrahimović showed how it is done eight minutes before the interval, collecting Seedorf's clipped pass and acrobatically stabbing the ball in.
The Dutch side responded well, starting the second half with real purpose, though they failed to carve out any clear-cut chances. Robinho curled high over from outside the box in a rare counter, and soon after substitute Kevin-Prince Boateng did the same. The Ghanaian international brought pace to the visitors' midfield, yet although his side gradually reasserted themselves they could not find a way through the Ajax defence, for whom Jan Vertonghen was imperious.
Both teams seemed to have settled for a point well before the final whistle, although Stekelenburg made a marvellous block to deny Boateng's angled drive near the death. Milan will nonetheless be satisfied with a point to add to the three they collected against AJ Auxerre on Matchday 1. Ajax will hope for similar when they host the French side next time out.
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