Returning to the club where he began his career, Clarence Seedorf produced a superb all-round display to help AC Milan earn a valuable point at AFC Ajax.
The former Dutch international, who represented the Amsterdam outfit in his teens, showed that at 34 he has lost none of his zest, winning tackles and linking up with the Milan forwards with devastating effect. He could not prevent Mounir El Hamdaoui handing the hosts the lead on 23 minutes, but Seedorf came to the Rossoneri's rescue before the break, setting up another Ajax old boy Zlatan Ibrahimović to score.
In typically modest fashion, Seedorf played down his role in Milan's fightback in the 1-1 draw. "It was a difficult game and it wasn't one of our better performances," the ex-Real Madrid CF and FC Internazionale Milano midfielder told UEFA.com. "I had a few good moments and after 20 minutes we started getting more into the game. We expected Ajax to start as strongly as they did, but we kept our heads. There wasn't a great deal of incident in the second half, we had the match well under control but didn't create much. In the end a draw was a fair result."
Seedorf's team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng was more effusive about his seemingly ageless colleague. "It doesn't really surprise me Clarence got the man of the match award," said the Ghanaian international, who joined from Portsmouth FC in the summer. "He provided a great assist and put in some top challenges. He's won the UEFA Champions League four times and has so much experience. I'm looking forward to learning from players like him. It's unbelievable to play with the likes of Clarence and Ronaldinho, Robinho and [Andrea] Pirlo."
Ajax had lost their Group G opener away to Madrid, and centre-back Jan Vertonghen feels an opportunity was missed to claim a big scalp on Tuesday. "Maybe we could have got more than a draw, it feels like two lost points," the Belgian international said. "It was my first UEFA Champions League game and I didn't know how it would turn out but it went well. People were waiting to see how we'd bounce back after the defeat in Madrid, and I think we can now have more confidence."
Fellow defender Urby Emanuelson also had mixed feelings. "We played well but created too few chances, although I think we're capable of more than we showed this evening," the Netherlands player said. "We took an important step forward, and with a double-header against [AJ] Auxerre coming up, we have to make sure we continue to improve and take three points from our next home match."
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