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Blind faith pays off for Ajax

Published: Wednesday 19 October 2005, 0.48CET
AFC Ajax 2-0 FC Thun Yannis Anastasiou marked his surprise inclusion with two goals as Ajax kick-started their Group B campaign in style.
by John Atkin

Match statistics

AjaxThun

Goals scored2
 
0
Attempts on target7
 
2
Attempts off target11
 
5
Corners5
 
4
Offsides8
 
4
Fouls committed16
 
11
Yellow cards0
 
0
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

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

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 19 October 2005, 0.48CET

Blind faith pays off for Ajax

AFC Ajax 2-0 FC Thun Yannis Anastasiou marked his surprise inclusion with two goals as Ajax kick-started their Group B campaign in style.

Greek striker Yannis Anastasiou was on target twice as AFC Ajax kick-started their faltering UEFA Champions League Group B campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory against FC Thun at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Clinical finishing
Anastasiou was told he was to be released in March, but newly-arrived coach Danny Blind intervened because of his positive influence on younger players. That decision was vindicated in style. After an Ajax-dominated first half, the 32-year-old broke the deadlock nine minutes before the interval, clinically slotting in from eight metres. Mauro Lustrinelli worked opportunities for the visitors before and after, but Anastasiou doubled the lead ten minutes after the restart as Ajax sidled into second place in the section.

Anastasiou surprise
Blind had rung the changes following a dispiriting goalless draw against Heracles Almelo at the weekend, with Hedwiges Maduro and Steven Pienaar both back from injury. But the surprise came in attack where Anastasiou was preferred to Markus Rosenberg and Nourdin Boukhari. The veteran almost made his mark within the first ten minutes, but the goal at his mercy, Anastasiou glanced his header wide.

De Jong dominant
It was the culmination of a bright start by the hosts, who controlled the opening exchanges but struggled to find their poise in the final third. Nigel de Jong was especially impressive in the build-up, clearly revelling in the space afforded him by a hesitant Thun defence. He could have made the breakthrough as early as the fourth minute, but after cushioning the ball, his shot was smothered by Eldin Jakupovic.

Trabelsi advance
The Dutch international remained a threat, however, and fizzed two efforts just wide of goal midway through the half. He was finding ample support on the right from the increasingly advanced Hatem Trabelsi, who tried his luck too on the half-hour. But Ajax almost paid for a lack of patience as the Tunisian full-back was still trotting back when Gelson Rodrigues exploited the vacated space before passing to Lustrinelli, who just failed to find the target.

Impressive opener
The warning finally spurred Ajax into action, and they went ahead on 36 minutes when Pienaar passed towards the penalty spot where Anastasiou was on hand to deflect the ball just inside the near post. Maarten Stekelenburg had still to be tested but had to be alert just before the interval when Nelson Ferreira fed Lustrinelli, who forced the goalkeeper to dive at full length to turn his attempt around the post.

Pienaar miss
Lustrinelli has scored nine goals this season, and on the rare occasions the visitors pushed forward he proved a menace to the Ajax rearguard. He drew another save from Stekelenburg four minutes after the restart after feinting past the last defender, but by that time Thun could, and should, have been two down. Pienaar was the guilty party, benefiting from a fortuitous deflection on Mauro Rosales's cross. But with the goal at his mercy, he blazed over.

Return fixture
Anastasiou showed more poise on 55 minutes when Alen Orman's tackle rolled straight to him just inside the area, and the former RSC Anderlecht man applied a first-time finish. He could have completed his hat-trick in the closing stages when he shot over from close range, but by then his job was done, and he left the field two minutes later to rousing applause. The Dutch club will hope for more of the same in the return fixture in Switzerland in a fortnight's time.

Last updated: 19/10/05 0.58CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2005/matches/round=2201/match=1100284/postmatch/report/index.html#blind+faith+pays+ajax

Lineups

ajax

Ajax

thun

Thun

1
StekelenburgMaarten Stekelenburg (GK)
1
JakupovićEldin Jakupović (GK)
2
TrabelsiHatem Trabelsi
2
LeandroVieira Leandro
3
GrygeraZdeněk Grygera
3
GonçalvesJosé Gonçalves
6
GalásekTomáš Galásek (C)
5
MiličevićLjubo Miličević
7
RosalesMauro Rosales
Substitution90
8
GelsonRodrigues Gelson
Substitution84
8
MaduroHedwiges Maduro
9
AdrianoPimenta Adriano
Substitution74
10
PienaarSteven Pienaar
Substitution84
12
DeumiArmand Deumi
16
N. De JongNigel de Jong
17
OrmanAlen Orman
17
AnastasiouYannis Anastasiou
Goal36
Goal55
Substitution82
19
AegerterSilvan Aegerter (C)
18
SneijderWesley Sneijder
20
LustrinelliMauro Lustrinelli
Substitution84
19
EmanuelsonUrby Emanuelson
21
Nelson FerreiraNelson Ferreira

Substitutes

12
VonkHans Vonk (GK)
18
PortmannAlain Portmann (GK)
4
HeitingaJohn Heitinga
Substitution90
7
DuruzGrégory Duruz
Substitution84
11
BabelRyan Babel
Substitution82
10
SpadotoAdriano Luis Spadoto
15
VermaelenThomas Vermaelen
13
OmarPape Omar
Substitution84
21
LindenberghOlaf Lindenbergh
15
SenEren Sen
Substitution74
24
RosenbergMarkus Rosenberg
26
HodzicSelver Hodzic
28
BoukhariNourdin Boukhari
Substitution84

Coach

Danny Blind (NED) Urs Schönenberger (SUI)

Referee

Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

Assistant referees

Alessandro Stagnoli (ITA), Cristiano Copelli (ITA)

Fourth official

Antonio Dattilo (ITA)

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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