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Ajax hold their own

Published: Tuesday 18 February 2003, 22.01CET
Arsenal FC 1-1 AFC Ajax Nigel de Jong's equaliser ensures a share of the spoils for Ajax.

Match statistics

ArsenalAjax

Goals scored1
 
1
Attempts on target4
 
3
Attempts off target13
 
4
Corners5
 
5
Offsides1
 
1
Fouls committed9
 
16
Yellow cards1
 
3
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

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

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Tuesday 18 February 2003, 22.01CET

Ajax hold their own

Arsenal FC 1-1 AFC Ajax Nigel de Jong's equaliser ensures a share of the spoils for Ajax.

Adam Szreter reports from Highbury

In the end the joint Group B leaders shared the spoils here tonight, with four-times European champions AFC Ajax refusing to bow to Arsenal FC's billing as one of the firm favourites to win this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Level pegging
Though they were hanging on slightly by the end, the Dutch gave as good as they got after an early setback, and if substitute Nourdin Boukhari had managed to convert a half-chance four minutes from time they may yet have won. Instead a point apiece means Valencia CF, victors in Rome, move level on five points with the pair, although Ajax sit top.

Keown missing
Arsenal, who have now won just one of five home Champions League ties this term, were virtually at full strength, the only surprise being the absence of veteran defender Martin Keown, Frenchman Pascal Cygan taking his place. Ajax, beset by injuries, welcomed back captain Cristian Chivu and Tomàš Galasék after suspension.

Wiltord opener
Nevertheless Ronald Koeman's young side made a hesitant start against the English champions, falling behind in the fifth minute. From an Ajax attack, Patrick Vieira, who had headed wide from the first chance of the game, swept the ball forward to Dennis Bergkamp. The Dutchman fed Sylvain Wiltord, who advanced unopposed through the inside-right channel before shooting between the legs of Bogdan Lobont.

De Jong curls equaliser
Ajax settled after that, drawing confidence from Chivu's apparent composure, but it was still a surprise when they equalised after 17 minutes. Galasék's long pass was so perfectly judged it gave Nigel de Jong, one of only two Dutch players in the side, just enough space to cut inside Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole before curling a left-foot shot beyond David Seaman.

Free-flowing spectacle
Moments later only a last-ditch intervention by Sol Campbell stopped Zlatan Ibrahimovic putting Ajax ahead, with Arsenal plainly rattled, and the game turned into a fast, free-flowing spectacle, albeit with clear chances at a premium. For Ajax, Galasék prompted and South African Steven Pienaar probed, while for Arsenal the French quartet of Vieira, Robert Pires, Wiltord and Thierry Henry looked particularly sharp.

Close calls
Two shots apiece from Pires and Henry were the closest Arsenal went to adding to their tally in the first half, Lobont saving well from Henry's second attempt four minutes before the break, while Seaman had to be alert in the Arsenal goal to gather a drive from the Brazilian Maxwell midway through the half.

Taylor replaces Seaman
With the exception of Seaman, replaced by Stuart Taylor at the interval, the two teams picked up in the second half where they had left off at the end of the first. Andy van der Meyde fired a metre over the bar for Ajax, while Lobont had to race out of his area to hack the ball clear from Bergkamp, before racing back to save on his line from Gilberto.

Bergkamp threat
After a cross-shot from Cole had skimmed across the face of the Ajax goal, Bergkamp then grazed the outside of the post with a typically inventive shot on the turn before Arsenal's young striker Francis Jeffers replaced Gilberto with 20 minutes remaining. But hard though they tried, Arsenal's disappointing run of results at home in the Champions League continued.

Last updated: 19/02/03 14.14CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2002/matches/round=1637/match=1038244/postmatch/report/index.html#ajax+hold+their

Lineups

arsenal

Arsenal

ajax

Ajax

1
SeamanDavid Seaman (GK)
Substitution46
1
LobonţBogdan Lobonţ (GK)
Yellow Card79
3
A. ColeAshley Cole
2
TrabelsiHatem Trabelsi
4
VieiraPatrick Vieira (C)
4
GalásekTomáš Galásek
7
PirèsRobert Pirès
Yellow Card90+1
5
ChivuCristian Chivu (C)
10
BergkampDennis Bergkamp
Substitution85
7
Van der MeydeAndy van der Meyde
11
WiltordSylvain Wiltord
Goal5
9
IbrahimovićZlatan Ibrahimović
Substitution79
12
LaurenLauren
10
PienaarSteven Pienaar
Substitution90+2
14
HenryThierry Henry
13
MaxwellMaxwell
18
CyganPascal Cygan
16
PasanenPetri Pasanen
Yellow Card56
19
Gilberto SilvaGilberto Silva
Substitution72
24
Van DammeJelle Van Damme
Substitution76
23
CampbellSol Campbell
26
N. De JongNigel de Jong
Goal17

Substitutes

13
TaylorStuart Taylor (GK)
Substitution46
21
DidulicaJoey Didulica (GK)
9
JeffersFrancis Jeffers
Substitution72
3
BergdølmoAndré Bergdølmo
15
ParlourRay Parlour
8
WitschgeRichard Witschge
Substitution76
16
Van BronckhorstGiovanni van Bronckhorst
15
SneijderWesley Sneijder
17
EduEdu
22
YakubuAbubakari Yakubu
Substitution90+2
25
KanuNwankwo Kanu
Substitution85
28
BoukhariNourdin Boukhari
Substitution79
Yellow Card82
26
StepanovsIgors Stepanovs
30
SeedorfStefano Seedorf

Coach

Arsène Wenger (FRA) Ronald Koeman (NED)

Referee

Lucilio Cardoso Cortez Batista (POR)

Assistant referees

Paulo Jorge Januario Leite Ribeiro (POR), Jose Cardinal (POR)

Fourth official

Pedro Proença (POR)

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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