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AFC Ajax forward Dennis Rommedahl struggled to hide his frustration after seeing his opening strike cancelled out by ten-man RSC Anderlecht in the dying moments of a pulsating UEFA Europa League encounter.
Having dominated for long periods, the Amsterdam giants made their superiority count in the 72nd minute when second-half substitute Rommedahl converted Luis Suárez's cross. After Jelle Van Damme had received his marching orders eight minutes from time, the game seemed to be up for the hosts, yet they rallied brilliantly to claim a share of the spoils thanks to Jonathan Legear's second goal of the campaign.
'We deserved more'
While the hosts celebrated excitedly at the final whistle, Rommedahl was left to reflect on two dropped points. "We played very good football, created chances and really should have gone home with three points," the Danish winger told uefa.com. "Unfortunately we made mistakes at the end and allowed Anderlecht back. No Dutch side has ever won here so perhaps this isn't a bad result. Overall, though, we deserved more."
One of only two Ajax players with over 50 appearances in UEFA club competitions under his belt, Rommedahl is relishing this latest campaign. "Ajax are a fantastic club, the team is getting better and better and I'm really enjoying myself," the former PSV Eindhoven wide man enthused. "We've become very difficult to beat." Of his own display, the 31-year-old added: "I'm pleased to have made an impact. When you're a substitute you always hope to be able to change the game. I managed to create some dangerous moments."
Nevertheless, the 1992 UEFA Cup winners have much work to do to reach the knockout stage. They lie third in Group A with two points, and defender Urby Emanuelson knows the next game against NK Dinamo Zagreb is key. "We're at home and we really need to win that one," said the 23-year-old, who was keen to draw positives from Thursday's game. "We played well and should be encouraged. We're a young team but we're improving very quickly."
There is not quite so much pressure on Anderlecht, who lead the section with four points ahead of their trip to FC Timişoara. Goalkeeper Silvio Proto was pleased with the point. "It wasn't easy," he said. "We were a bit lucky to keep them out in the first half. I made a save, there was another shot cleared off the line, and their striker also missed opportunities, but we found extra energy with ten men, and strangely enough we nearly ended up winning."
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