The official website for European football

Holders Milan squeeze through

Published: Wednesday 26 November 2003, 23.21CET
AFC Ajax 0-1 AC Milan An Andriy Shevchenko goal books the Italian side's place in the last 16.

Match statistics

AjaxMilan

Goals scored0
1
Attempts on target2
 
1
Attempts off target7
 
4
Corners4
 
5
Offsides1
 
4
Fouls committed21
 
10
Yellow cards2
 
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

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

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 26 November 2003, 23.21CET

Holders Milan squeeze through

AFC Ajax 0-1 AC Milan An Andriy Shevchenko goal books the Italian side's place in the last 16.

By Marcus Christenson at the Amsterdam ArenA

AC Milan again proved too strong for AFC Ajax to move into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a narrow 1-0 away win.

Familiar foes
Milan eliminated the Dutch side in the quarter-finals of last season's competition and also defeated Ajax by a single goal in the opening game of Group H. Andriy Shevchenko's strike earned the win on this occasion. The Amsterdam club remain second despite the loss, but must win at Club Brugge KV on Matchday 6 to be sure of progressing.

Selection problems
Ronald Koeman's Ajax squad was down to the bare bones with defensive pair Hatem Trabelsi and John O'Brien, South African midfield player Steven Pienaar and prolific Belgian striker Wesley Sonck all absent through injury, while captain Rafael van der Vaart and Zdenek Grygera missed out through suspension. However, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Maxwell both overcame minor knocks to take their places in the starting lineup.

Maldini returns
Milan, meanwhile, were without the suspended central defender Alessandro Nesta after his sending off against Brugge, so Martin Laursen came in alongside Paolo Maldini, who returned to the side after missing Sunday's 2-0 win against AC Chievo Verona.

Bright opening
Both teams started in lively fashion and Filippo Inzaghi could have given the away side the lead after five minutes, but his powerful effort from the edge of the penalty area flew high over the crossbar. At the other end, Nigel De Jong came close with a looping header.

Midfield stalemate
The game then settled into a midfield struggle, with both teams full of endeavour but producing little in the way of goalmouth action. Young Romanian striker Nicolae Mitea threatened briefly in the 29th minute, but Ajax's attacking options, already severely limited, were then reduced further as Ibrahimovic was forced to go off having previously gone down clutching his right ankle. Finnish playmaker Jari Litmanen took his place.

Kaka crowded out
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, had opted to play the diamond formation in midfield with Andrea Pirlo in the holding role and Kaka, who scored the only goal against Brugge on Matchday 4, in a more advanced position. However, the young Brazilian found it difficult to create any chances as Abubakari Yakubu, Anthony Obodai and Thomáš Galásek took turns at marking him, and the match remained goalless at the interval.

Shevchenko strikes
As the second half kicked off, Milan immediately seized the initiative and took the lead within seven minutes. Inzaghi won possession near the halfway line and found Cafu on the right. The pacy Brazilian defender sped past his marker and supplied a pinpoint cross which evaded Yakubu and fell to Shevchenko, who chested the ball down and shot past Bogdan Lobont with his left foot.

Obodai injury
Moments later Cafu threatened again, powering past his compatriot Maxwell and into the penalty area. He looked certain to score but was eventually thwarted by Obodai's flying challenge. Unfortunately, the Ghanaian midfield player injured himself in the process and was forced to leave the field on a stretcher, with Wamberto taking his place.

Maxwell effort
Milan continued to dominate and former Ajax midfield player Clarence Seedorf, booed throughout, nearly doubled the lead four minutes after Shevchenko's goal but was unable to direct his header on target from the Ukrainian's cross. The home side tried their best to respond, with Maxwell striking a fierce long-range shot, but the distance was too great to seriously trouble Dida in the Milan goal. Ajax pushed valiantly but the Italian side's greater experience told and they defended expertly to preserve their lead and ensure their progress.

Last updated: 27/11/03 11.58CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2003/matches/round=1712/match=1056875/postmatch/report/index.html#holders+milan+squeeze+through

Lineups

ajax

Ajax

milan

Milan

1
LobonţBogdan Lobonţ (GK)
12
DidaDida (GK)
4
EscudéJulien Escudé
2
CafuCafu
6
GalásekTomáš Galásek (C)
Yellow Card43
3
MaldiniPaolo Maldini (C)
9
IbrahimovićZlatan Ibrahimović
Substitution40
7
ShevchenkoAndriy Shevchenko
Goal52
12
HeitingaJohn Heitinga
8
GattusoGennaro Gattuso
15
MaxwellMaxwell
9
F. InzaghiFilippo Inzaghi
Yellow Card34
Substitution71
16
N. de JongNigel de Jong
19
CostacurtaAlessandro Costacurta
18
SneijderWesley Sneijder
20
SeedorfClarence Seedorf
22
YakubuAbubakari Yakubu
Yellow Card36
21
PirloAndrea Pirlo
26
ObodaiAnthony Obodai
Substitution54
22
KakáKaká
Substitution76
29
MiteaNicolae Mitea
Substitution76
24
LaursenMartin Laursen
Substitution46

Substitutes

31
BoschkerSander Boschker (GK)
77
AbbiatiChristian Abbiati (GK)
3
PasanenPetri Pasanen
10
Rui CostaRui Costa
Substitution76
7
SoetaersTom Soetaers
14
ŠimićDario Šimić
11
SikoraVictor Sikora
Substitution76
15
TomassonJon Dahl Tomasson
14
Van DammeJelle Van Damme
23
AmbrosiniMassimo Ambrosini
Substitution71
17
WambertoWamberto
Substitution54
26
PancaroGiuseppe Pancaro
Substitution46
20
LitmanenJari Litmanen
Substitution40
32
BrocchiCristian Brocchi

Coach

Ronald Koeman (NED) Carlo Ancelotti (ITA)

Referee

Urs Meier (SUI)

Assistant referees

Rudolf Käppeli (SUI), Martin Iseli (SUI)

Fourth official

Martin Salm (SUI)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.