AFC Ajax defeated nine-man Grazer AK 2-1 on Wednesday thanks to a 'silver goal' to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage on the back of a 3-2 aggregate triumph.
Ajax, who were a touch fortunate to gain a 1-1 draw in Austria a fortnight ago, were made to wait until Czech midfield player Tomáš Galásek struck from the penalty spot a minute from the end of the first period of extra time to settle a tightly-contested tie.
The Dutch club took a 15th-minute lead through Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who headed a cross from Brazilian midfielder Maxwell into the net. Roland Kollmann, however, levelled in the 40th minute to set up an exciting second half.
Ajax, quarter-finalists in the competition last season, suffered in defence after the interval while the Austrian defence remained firm, despite losing left-back Gregor Pötscher for a second bookable offence.
Soon after the dismissal Anton Ehmann was also handed a red card after conceding a penalty. Galásek calmly converted to settle matters and within a minute the whistle had sounded to bring welcome relief to the four-times former European champions.
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