AFC Ajax strengthened their grip on second place in UEFA Champions League Group D with a stylish 4-0 victory against GNK Dinamo Zagreb.
Frank de Boer's side won 2-0 in Croatia a fortnight ago and there was no looking back after Gregory van der Wiel and Miralem Sulejmani applied finishing touches to sweeping team moves in the first 25 minutes. Siem de Jong and substitute Nicolás Lodeiro did likewise in the second half to leave Ajax three points clear of Olympique Lyonnais – beaten 2-0 by Real Madrid CF tonight – ahead of their meeting in France on matchday five.
Ajax took the game straight to the visitors, with both Christian Eriksen and Theo Janssen narrowly missing the target from distance in the opening moments. De Jong then only failed to connect with Derk Boerrigter's low centre by a fraction. The opener was coming and when it arrived it was worth the wait. On 20 minutes, Eriksen collected the ball on the right and brilliantly took out two defenders with a back-heeled pass to Van der Wiel, who waited for his moment before firing high into Ivan Kelava's net.
The celebrations had barely abated before the lead was doubled. Eyong Enoh won a 50-50 and then charged forward before slipping a pass to De Jong as he was tackled. The No10 played a delightful ball through the Dinamo defence to Sulejmani, who took the goalkeeper out of the equation with his first touch and found the net with his second.
Ajax were irresistible and only a superb one-handed save by the overworked Kelava prevented Domagoj Vida heading Sulejmani's cross into his own net. Picked out by De Jong's deep pass, Sulejmani then nodded the wrong side of one post, while Toby Alderweireld grazed the outside of the opposite upright from Eriksen's corner as half-time approached.
Dinamo played with more purpose at the start of the second half yet the waves of red-and-white attacks continued. De Jong had a lob tipped away but was not to be denied as he converted another wonderful flick from Eriksen following another outstanding attacking move.
Eriksen left the field to a standing ovation, and the man who replaced him, Lodeiro, had the fans on their feet again in added time when he steered a low pass from fellow substitute Lorenzo Ebecilio inside the near post.