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Martin Jol and Jean Fernandez agreed that AFC Ajax effectively had their first UEFA Champions League victory since November 2005 sewn up at half-time against AJ Auxerre, before André Ooijer's 55th-minute dismissal almost threw a spanner in the works. Ajax's hopes of advancing are very much alive but after a third successive defeat Auxerre admit they already have one eye on the UEFA Europa League.
Martin Jol, Ajax coach
I'm happy with the victory.
It's a shame we went down to ten men because I think we could have won by more. I can understand André Ooijer's reaction but in hindsight it would have been better if he had not done that. Then we had a few problems after they made it 2-1 straight away – they would have scored even if we had 11 men. I'm very happy with the way we played in the first half: we did everything we needed to. And, of course, you then hope for more, but that was it for today.
I was hoping we could make it 3-0 and then maybe look for more, especially with Real Madrid beating AC Milan 2-0. But when you then go down to ten men it is very annoying, especially as we lost our first-half flow. We should have made our ascendancy count. I would also have preferred Real Madrid to win by more than 2-0. But we did what we had to.
Jean Fernandez, Auxerre coach
We missed everything in the first half: they were utterly dominant. In the second half we managed to keep hold of the ball a bit better and then Valter Birsa pulled a goal back. We thought we could do it but a second goal eluded us. We're a good side but we seem to be lacking something.
We have two home games left and we'll need results as the last game in Madrid will be tough. We would like to go on in the Champions League because it's an extraordinary competition, and why not if we're faultless at home from now on? It should be enough for a Europa League place in any case. But we must be realistic. Three losses in as many games speak volumes.
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