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Inter recovery pegs back Ajax

Published: Thursday 23 February 2006, 0.45CET
AFC Ajax 2-2 FC Internazionale Milano
The Italian side scored twice in the second half, replicating Ajax's first-half heroics.
by David Minton
from Amsterdam ArenA

Match statistics

AjaxInternazionale

Goals scored2
 
2
Attempts on target4
 
8
Attempts off target5
 
3
Corners0
7
Offsides1
 
3
Fouls committed19
 
18
Yellow cards1
 
3
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 23 February 2006, 0.45CET

Inter recovery pegs back Ajax

AFC Ajax 2-2 FC Internazionale Milano
The Italian side scored twice in the second half, replicating Ajax's first-half heroics.

An inspired comeback by FC Internazionale Milano salvaged a 2-2 draw at the Amsterdam ArenA after hosts AFC Ajax had dominated the first half of this first knockout round first-leg tie.

Cruz leveller
Dejan Stanković and Julio Cruz scored the goals during Inter's rally following a traumatic opening period. A superb header from UEFA Champions League debutant Klaas Jan Huntelaar had put Ajax into a 16th-minute lead and Mauro Rosales turned in a second four minutes later as Danny Blind's side took control.

Open contest
Blind's prediction of an open contest was fulfilled in the early stages with both teams finding space in which to construct attacks. Stanković, recalled to the Inter lineup after recovering from a back injury, had the game's first worthwhile attempt which Maarten Stekelenburg did well to turn around the post. A sustained spell of Ajax pressure resulted in Huntelaar marking his UEFA Champions League debut, following a €9m switch from SC Heerenveen, with an emphatic header to open the scoring.

Deflected goal
Rosales latched on to an attempted Iván Córdoba clearance and the Argentinian's sumptuous cross was planted into the corner of the net by Huntelaar. Rosales, linking superbly with the marauding Hatem Trabelsi on the right, was increasingly influential and deservedly doubled Ajax's advantage soon after. Urby Emanuelson created it down the left, his persistence and determination paying off as he deceived Esteban Cambiasso before whipping in a cross which Rosales turned in with the aid of a deflection off Inter's Nicolás Burdisso.

Defensive duties
A shell-shocked Inter gave notice of their attacking threat when Cruz, preferred to Obafemi Martins as Adriano's strike partner, flashed in a shot at the other end. Ajax, however, continued to dominate. Had a Rosales volley been struck truly, rather than screwed off the outside of his boot, the four-time champions of Europe could have been three up inside half an hour. At times even Adriano had to act as an auxiliary defender, sprinting 60 metres towards his goal to counteract a surplus of Ajax numbers on one of numerous swift counterattacks.

Crossbar plays part
Ajax's 19-year-old left-back Emanuelson justified Blind's faith in the capabilities of his young charges, nullifying the threat of 33-year-old Luís Figo, who was forced to move infield to look for the ball on his return to the Inter side after a knee problem. Freed of Emanuelson's attentions momentarily, a Figo corner resulted in Inter twice striking the crossbar as the half closed. Córdoba reacted fastest after Cruz had beaten Stekelenburg in the air, but the Colombian's close-range header met the same fate as that of his Argentinian team-mate.

Tactical readjustment
Nerazzurri coach Roberto Mancini made a tactical readjustment at the interval, bringing on Chilean David Pizarro for César to stiffen the central midfield, with Stanković replacing the Brazilian on the left. The move paid dividends within four minutes as the Serbian played a one-two with Cambiasso, outwitted Trabelsi and poked in a shot that also took a deflection en route to the back of the net. In a reversal of the opening 45 minutes, Inter now carried the greater menace. Cutting in from the left, a trademark curling strike from Figo troubled the Ajax goalkeeper before Adriano was substituted for Martins.

Clever play
Still Inter pressed and Nigerian forward Martins was soon into the action. A sharp turn and shot through Johnny Heitinga's legs led to a superb save from the unsighted Stekelenburg. The latter could do nothing to keep out Cruz's late leveller, however, after the unmarked striker had the simplest of tasks to side-foot in after clever play from Cambiasso and Figo.

Last updated: 23/02/06 11.25CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2005/matches/round=2202/match=1102853/postmatch/report/index.html#inter+recovery+pegs+back+ajax

Lineups

ajax

Ajax

internazionale

Internazionale

1
StekelenburgMaarten Stekelenburg (GK)
1
ToldoFrancesco Toldo (GK)
2
TrabelsiHatem Trabelsi
2
CórdobaIván Córdoba
Yellow Card69
4
HeitingaJohn Heitinga
3
N. BurdissoNicolás Burdisso
7
RosalesMauro Rosales
Goal20
Substitution89
4
ZanettiJavier Zanetti (C)
8
MaduroHedwiges Maduro
5
StankovićDejan Stanković
Goal49
15
VermaelenThomas Vermaelen
7
Luís FigoLuís Figo
19
EmanuelsonUrby Emanuelson
9
CruzJulio Cruz
Yellow Card84
Goal86
21
LindenberghOlaf Lindenbergh (C)
10
AdrianoAdriano
Substitution65
24
RosenbergMarkus Rosenberg
Yellow Card78
19
CambiassoEsteban Cambiasso
25
HuntelaarKlaas-Jan Huntelaar
Goal16
25
SamuelWalter Samuel
28
BoukhariNourdin Boukhari
31
CésarCésar
Substitution46

Substitutes

12
VonkHans Vonk (GK)
12
Júlio CésarJúlio César (GK)
9
CharisteasAngelos Charisteas
8
PizarroDavid Pizarro
Substitution46
Yellow Card74
11
BabelRyan Babel
Substitution89
18
Kily GonzálezKily González
22
JuanfranJuanfran
21
SolariSantiago Solari
31
BoakyeEmmanuel Boakye
23
MaterazziMarco Materazzi
38
SarpongJeffrey Sarpong
30
MartinsObafemi Martins
Substitution65
45
TimiselaMichael Timisela
33
WomePierre Wome

Coach

Danny Blind (NED) Roberto Mancini (ITA)

Referee

Wolfgang Stark (GER)

Assistant referees

Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER), Peter Henes (GER)

Fourth official

Manuel Gräfe (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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