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Ajax winded by Spartak sucker punch

Published: Thursday 10 March 2011, 22.55CET
AFC Ajax 0-1 FC Spartak Moskva
The hosts were made to pay for a catalogue of missed chances as Alex's second-half strike earned Spartak a precious first-leg advantage.
by John Atkin
from Amsterdam ArenA

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Match statistics

AjaxSpartak Moskva

Goals scored0
1
Attempts on target10
 
3
Attempts off target7
 
0
Corners13
 
0
Offsides1
 
2
Fouls committed9
 
17
Yellow cards2
 
3
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 10 March 2011, 22.55CET

Ajax winded by Spartak sucker punch

AFC Ajax 0-1 FC Spartak Moskva
The hosts were made to pay for a catalogue of missed chances as Alex's second-half strike earned Spartak a precious first-leg advantage.

A clinical second-half hit from Alex on a night of AFC Ajax misses earned FC Spartak Moskva a valuable first-leg advantage in this UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie.

The Russian visitors stuttered and spluttered throughout in the face of almost constant Ajax pressure. Yet with Siem de Jong in particular guilty of a host of spurned chances, Alex's opportunistic 57th-minute effort secured a lead to take into next Thursday's return – ending the Dutch side's eight-match winning home run in the process.

Ajax had been given a pep talk from former striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar before kick-off and had De Jong displayed a little more composure in the opening 60 seconds, the FC Schalke 04 forward's future as a motivational speaker could have been assured. De Jong did well to cushion Daley Blind's pass and turn his marker, but snatched at his shot.

It was a sign of things to come. Spartak are still four days away from the start of their Premier-Liga campaign and looked rusty for it. Their grinding through the gears was a marked contrast to the home team's slick transitions, with Vurnon Anita cutting off the supply line to the visiting strikers and feeding his own hungry team-mates.

Lorenzo Ebecilio, Demy de Zeeuw and De Jong all worked goalkeeper Andriy Dykan, yet for all their intent and willing Ajax's execution was lacking. There was no improvement after half-time either, as the unmarked De Zeeuw nodded Ebecilio's cross straight at Dykan when it seemed easier to score.

Within three minutes Alex had delivered the sucker punch, making light work of a couple of half-hearted challenges on the edge of the box and spearing a shot across goal and into the bottom corner. Ajax responded well, ratcheting up the pressure but also the misses – most glaringly when De Jong made a hash of his close-range header, sending it back across goal. Huntelaar may need to have a few more words.

Last updated: 22/11/13 9.06CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2011/matches/round=2000130/match=2003805/postmatch/report/index.html#spartak+make+ajax

Lineups

ajax

Ajax

spartak moskva

Spartak Moskva

1
StekelenburgMaarten Stekelenburg (GK) (C)
81
DykanAndriy Dykan (GK)
2
Van der WielGregory van der Wiel
7
IbsonIbson
Substitution57
3
AlderweireldToby Alderweireld
12
AlexAlex (C)
Goal57
4
VertonghenJan Vertonghen
Yellow Card52
16
MakeevEvgeni Makeev
5
AnitaVurnon Anita
17
SuchýMarek Suchý
Yellow Card38
7
SulejmaniMiralem Sulejmani
22
RojoMarcos Rojo
Yellow Card77
8
EriksenChristian Eriksen
Yellow Card78
24
DzyubaArtem Dzyuba
10
S. de JongSiem de Jong
35
Rafael CariocaRafael Carioca
Substitution84
17
BlindDaley Blind
64
McGeadyAiden McGeady
Substitution90+2
20
De ZeeuwDemy de Zeeuw
Substitution74
77
K. KombarovKirill Kombarov
41
EbecilioLorenzo Ebecilio
Substitution85
99
D. KombarovDmitri Kombarov

Substitutes

30
VerhoevenJeroen Verhoeven (GK)
28
ZabolotniNikolai Zabolotni (GK)
6
EnohEyong Enoh
Substitution74
5
SheshukovAleksandr Sheshukov
Substitution84
13
OoijerAndré Ooijer
9
AriAri
18
LindgrenRasmus Lindgren
11
WellitonWelliton
Substitution57
Yellow Card70
23
OleguerOleguer
26
KhodyrevAnton Khodyrev
27
CvitanichDario Cvitanich
27
AnanidzeJano Ananidze
33
ÖzbilizAras Özbiliz
Substitution85
44
YakovlevPavel Yakovlev
Substitution90+2

Coach

Frank De Boer (NED) Valeri Karpin (RUS)

Referee

Manuel Gräfe (GER)

Assistant referees

Markus Häcker (GER), Thorsten Schiffner (GER)

Fourth official

Robert Hartmann (GER)

Additional assistant referees

Peter Sippel (GER), Tobias Welz (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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