AFC Ajax go into the home leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against Grazer AK on level terms after a 79th-minute free-kick from Wesley Sneijder earned them a draw in Austria.
Last season's quarter-finalists were facing defeat after a spirited performance from their hosts until Sneijder found the target with a long-range free-kick which flew into the right of Andreas Schranz's goal.
It was rough justice for GAK who made an enormous contribution to an enthralling contest. They attacked from the outset with Nikola Milinkovic flashing a shot just wide of the Ajax goal after two minutes, and Ilco Naumoski rattling the upright with another strike seven minutes later.
Ajax eventually woke up with Rafael van der Vaart providing more of a threat as the half went on, but it was GAK who came closest to opening the scoring when a searing drive from Milinkovic was deflected wide by an Ajax defender after 26 minutes.
Van der Vaart was denied by Schranz as he went one on one with the goalkeeper after 53 minutes only to see GAK take the lead three minutes later. A free-kick was looped into the area for Austrian international defender Emanuel Pogatetz to head into the Ajax goal to the delight of the home supporters.
However, with mass substitutions in the final quarter of the game, tiredness began to take its toll on the GAK defence, with Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic causing problems with his power and pace. After Sneijder had equalised, Ibrahimovic almost won the game, forcing Schranz into a fine save after 81 minutes.
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