AFC Ajax held Valencia CF to a 1-1 draw in a pulsating UEFA Champions League Group B game at the Mestalla stadium which the home side dominated - but were fortunate not to lose.
As Valencia began to wonder if their constant momentum would tell, Ajax substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic put his side ahead two minutes from the end. But in added time Miguel Angulo kept his nerve to shoot past the visitors' otherwise heroic goalkeeper Joey Didulica.
With Pablo Aimar and Francisco Rufete injured, Valencia fielded Mista up front with John Carew and Angulo in midfield. Ajax, meanwhile, had Cristian Chivu back from suspension in defence, and Jari Litmanen returning to the lineup in attack.
Only Carew will know how he did not put Valencia ahead in the second minute. A cross from the left was touched on by Angulo, leaving the Norwegian striker all on his own three metres out with Didulica beaten, but somehow the Norwegian striker shot over the bar.
Problems for Ajax
None the less, Carew was not disheartened, always causing Ajax problems with his height and strength, on 12 minutes forcing Didulica to make a fine one-handed save from his header - beginning the pattern of the match.
Ajax then launched a rare attack, and Andy van der Meyde's cross from the left came to Litmanen, but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Santiago Cañizares.
This was rare relief for an Ajax side who continued to be stretched by a rampant Valencia, although the assured Chivu, his head bandaged after suffering a wound, made a vital interception on 22 minutes as Angulo squared after receiving the ball from Curro Torres.
However, although Valencia's superiority was clear, their opportunities to score began to dry up, not least through the efforts of Chivu and the confident Didulica - like Carew, showing no ill-effects from his second-minute trauma as he dived to save a Rubén Baraja free-kick just before half-time.
Custodian in form
And it was the Australian custodian who came into his own after the break as Valencia continued to overrun the Dutch champions. Mista, Carew and Baraja all saw good efforts somehow kept out by Didulica in a six-minute period around the hour mark, and when Juan Sánchez came on for Mista, he too was denied from a diagonal shot.
After Vicente Rodríguez's effort was saved 13 minutes from the end, though, Valencia's momentum seemed to slow a little. And as time ran out, with the home side pushed forward, Rafael van der Vaart won the ball in midfield and played a precise ball through for Ibrahimovic, who rounded Cañizares and shot in.
Somehow, though, the home side regrouped, and halfway through the five-minute added time period, Angulo was first to substitute Gonzalo de los Santos's ball, and he shot through a crowd of defenders from just inside the box to save Valencia's unbeaten Champions League record at the Mestalla.
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