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Litmanen turns back the clock

Published: Tuesday 10 December 2002, 22.28CET
AFC Ajax 2-1 AS Roma Jari Litmanen's second-half strike fires the Dutch champions to victory.

Match statistics

AjaxRoma

Goals scored2
 
1
Attempts on target4
 
4
Attempts off target3
 
7
Corners2
 
4
Offsides0
1
Fouls committed25
 
32
Yellow cards1
 
4
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:21 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Tuesday 10 December 2002, 22.28CET

Litmanen turns back the clock

AFC Ajax 2-1 AS Roma Jari Litmanen's second-half strike fires the Dutch champions to victory.

Jari Litmanen rolled back the years for AFC Ajax with an exquisite second-half strike to earn his side a 2-1 UEFA Champions League Group B victory against AS Roma at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Litmanen winner
Litmanen, a European Champion Clubs' Cup winner with Ajax in 1995, scored his first goal in European football for the club since his summer move from Liverpool FC in the 66th minute to double Ajax's advantage following Zlatan Ibrahimovic's opening goal and ensure that Gabriel Batistuta's late reply was little more than a consolation for a disappointing Roma.

Impressive Ajax
Ajax's victory was all the more impressive given that they came into the match hampered by injury and suspension. Coach Ronald Koeman was missing the spine of his side with Cristian Chivu, Tomáš Galasek, Victor Sikora and Rafael van der Vaart all out, but their absence did little to prevent the Dutch outfit from dominating much of the encounter.

Stretched defensively
With Andy van der Meyde and Hatem Trabelsi both dangerous down the flanks, Roma were stretched defensively and it was a foray down the left involving Van der Meyde that led to the first goal after just eleven minutes. The midfield player combined well with the impressive Nigel de Jong to get in behind Christian Panucci, but the danger seemed to have passed when the ball fell to de Jong on the edge of the box.

Low shot
The youngster, however, was able to get in a low shot from distance which Francesco Antonioli completely misjudged to gift Ibrahimovic his chance. The ball bounced up on to the goalkeeper's forehead and into the path of the striker who calmly side-footed his side ahead from five metres.

Ajax come close
Roma failed to register a shot on target during the opening period. Cafu rifled over from a tight angle and Totti curled a free-kick wide, but the Ajax goal was rarely threatened and it was the home side who should have added to the score before the interval. First Mido just failed to connect with De Jong's cross, then Ibrahimovic ran through the Roma defence only for Antonioli to race off his line to thwart the striker.

Litmanen strikes
Roma briefly came to life after the restart with Traianos Dellas and Vincent Candela both working shooting chances. Yet Ajax were soon back in command, the tide turning with the introduction of Litmanen on 55 minutes. It took the veteran striker just over ten minutes to leave his mark and put the match out of the reach of Roma. Teed up by Ibrahimovic's cut-back from the left, Litmanen unleashed a curling strike beyond Antonioli and into the top right corner.

Late consolation
Roma had scored just four times in the Champions League in their seven previous games, and did not look like getting back into the match. Substitute Batistuta did pull one back late on with a header off Christian Panucci's long punt forward, but it came too late to save Roma who go into the winter break without a point from their first two games. In contrast, Ajax, with four, have plenty to look forward to.

Last updated: 11/12/02 4.08CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2002/matches/round=1637/match=1038236/postmatch/report/index.html#litmanen+turns+back+clock

Lineups

ajax

Ajax

roma

Roma

31
StekelenburgMaarten Stekelenburg (GK)
1
AntonioliFrancesco Antonioli (GK)
2
TrabelsiHatem Trabelsi
Yellow Card32
Substitution33
2
CafuCafu
3
BergdølmoAndré Bergdølmo (C)
5
ZebinaJonathan Zebina
7
Van der MeydeAndy van der Meyde
Substitution80
8
LimaFrancisco Lima
8
WitschgeRichard Witschge
10
TottiFrancesco Totti (C)
Yellow Card43
9
IbrahimovićZlatan Ibrahimović
Goal11
11
EmersonEmerson
Yellow Card90
10
PienaarSteven Pienaar
18
CassanoAntonio Cassano
Substitution72
11
MidoMido
Substitution57
19
SamuelWalter Samuel
Yellow Card40
13
MaxwellMaxwell
23
PanucciChristian Panucci
16
PasanenPetri Pasanen
31
DellasTraianos Dellas
Substitution61
26
N. De JongNigel de Jong
32
CandelaVincent Candela
Yellow Card90+3

Substitutes

21
DidulicaJoey Didulica (GK)
12
ZottiCarlo Zotti (GK)
17
WambertoWamberto
9
MontellaVincenzo Montella
Substitution61
20
LitmanenJari Litmanen
Substitution57
Goal66
13
CufréLeandro Cufré
22
YakubuAbubakari Yakubu
Substitution33
14
TomićIvan Tomić
24
Van DammeJelle Van Damme
25
GuigouGianni Guigou
28
BoukhariNourdin Boukhari
Substitution80
28
GuardiolaJosep Guardiola
30
SeedorfStefano Seedorf
33
BatistutaGabriel Batistuta
Substitution72
Goal89

Coach

Ronald Koeman (NED)

Referee

Markus Merk (GER)

Assistant referees

Heiner Müller (GER), Christian Schräer (GER)

Fourth official

Michael Weiner (GER)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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