AJ Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez expressed his "great relief" after AJ Auxerre got off the mark in UEFA Champions League Group G with a 2-1 victory against AFC Ajax. Steeven Langil struck the winner six minutes from time, and the result leaves the pair and AC Milan jostling for a round of 16 place after Real Madrid CF advanced.
Jean Fernandez, Auxerre coach
It's a great relief. Since the start of the group stage we have been playing well but failing to pick up points – we needed to do both tonight, and did that against a good Ajax team. We produced a good first-half performance and were 1-0 up – it could have been two but [Julien] Quercia failed to convert his opportunity. We tired in the second period: we're not used to playing so much. Substitutes [Kamel] Chafni and Langil then proved decisive.
It is Milan next, and we'll try to get a good result. In our first meeting we stood firm in the first half before conceding twice in the second period: motivation will be high, for sure.
Martin Jol, Ajax coach
The first half Auxerre played the kind of football they like to play, in the style that suits them: they were dangerous. We saw a lot of the ball, even in the first half, but were unable to use the flanks and get crosses into the box. Luis [Suárez] is not the kind of forward to stay on the wing all the time. And it is hard when you concede a goal that takes a big deflection [from Frédéric Sammaritano].
Yet we had enough opportunities to score, perhaps eight or nine chances. The second half went a lot better then the first. We had to score, and eventually we did. The winner [from a quick free-kick] could have been avoided. You could have simply stood in front of the ball, but because it was taken so quickly we were unable to get organised.
It could go either way in the last two matches. I think Real Madrid will finish top. Us, AC Milan and Auxerre are now battling for the other places. That is a real shame, because we could have eliminated Auxerre and gone ahead of Milan.
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