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Ajax get going against Dinamo Zagreb

Published: Tuesday 18 October 2011, 22.47CET
GNK Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 AFC Ajax
Second-half goals from Derk Boerrigter and Christian Eriksen gave Ajax their first Group D win and left the hosts still to score in this season's competition.
by Peter Murphy
from Stadion Maksimir
Published: Tuesday 18 October 2011, 22.47CET

Ajax get going against Dinamo Zagreb

GNK Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 AFC Ajax
Second-half goals from Derk Boerrigter and Christian Eriksen gave Ajax their first Group D win and left the hosts still to score in this season's competition.

AFC Ajax earned their first win in Group D after defeating GNK Dinamo Zagreb thanks to second-half goals from Derk Boerrigter and Christian Eriksen.

Neither team had scored after two matchdays and both were looking to kick-start their campaigns in what their respective coaches called a must-win tie. After an even first half, Boerrigter set Ajax on their way in the 49th minute with a cool first-time finish from a precise Miralem Sulejmani pass. Danish international Eriksen then concluded a slick move to seal the points on the stroke of full time.

The clubs had declared their intent to attack in the run-up, so the flurry of first-half chances at either end came as no surprise. Fatos Beqiraj and Jerko Leko for the hosts, and Toby Alderweireld for the visitors, all tried their luck early on. In the tenth minute, Ajax almost opened their Group D account. Belgian international Jan Vertonghen fired in a free-kick which Ivan Kelava could only parry, but Siem de Jong directed the rebound wide.

The 22-year-old striker then squandered a chance to make amends on 20 minutes when his glancing header from a Boerrigter cross skidded across the goalmouth. With Sulejmani and Boerrigter providing the width, Ajax looked more fluid but approaching the break Dinamo shifted up a gear. An explosive run on 37 minutes by Ante Rukavina was let down by a shot flashed well wide, while soon after Sammir forced Kenneth Vermeer to dive low to smother his close-range effort.

On a chilly night in Zagreb, the Dutch champions caught Dinamo cold four minutes into the second period via a moment of inspiration by Sulejmani. The Serbian international jinked between three Dinamo defenders and delivered a perfectly weighted pass with the outside of his boot to Boerrigter. The 25-year-old had time to shift his feet and pick his spot wide of Kelava to register his first UEFA Champions League goal.

Experienced midfielder Theo Janssen could have doubled the visitors' total when Kelava did well to block his drive. With Ajax playing possession football, Krunoslav Jurčić's side rarely threatened to equalise, although Adrián Callello screwed a snap shot across Vermeer's goal 12 minutes from time after being teed up by Rukavina. However, Eriksen rounded off a fine individual performance in the last minute of normal time when he broke clear and finished with aplomb to get Ajax up and running.

Last updated: 26/09/14 4.58CET

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