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Lyon hold on to secure point in Amsterdam

AFC Ajax 0-0 Olympique Lyonnais
The Group D opener finished all square as the visitors withstood some fierce second-half pressure from the Dutch champions to earn a valuable point.

Lyon hold on to secure point in Amsterdam
Lyon hold on to secure point in Amsterdam ©UEFA.com

Olympique Lyonnais left Amsterdam with a valuable point after holding AFC Ajax to a goalless draw in the opening match of UEFA Champions League Group D.

Ajax initially gained the upper hand, pinning Lyon back, but the visitors soon recovered and offered the greatest threat. Both Bafétimbi Gomis and Michel Bastos could have scored twice but missed the target each time. Miralem Sulejmani had the clearest opportunity of the opening 45 minutes, heading wide when in plenty of space, but visiting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had a busier second half, making a fine save to palm out Christian Eriksen’s drive as Frank de Boer's side failed to force the breakthrough.

The Dutch champions almost went ahead after only six minutes, Derk Boerrigter's header from a Theo Janssen corner hitting the side netting. Soon after Bakary Koné's acrobatic effort went just past the post at the other end after Kim Källström's free-kick was only half-cleared.

Gomis could have opened the scoring minutes later, his attempt from Bastos' cross hitting the turf and bouncing over, and the frustration of the Lyon No18 was evident when his next effort, again after being set up by the Brazilian, skidded wide. The lively Bastos, having switched from the left to right flank, then fashioned two openings for himself in quick succession but missed the target on both occasions.

However the best chance of the half came at the other end. Kolbeinn Sigthórsson's excellent cross from the left found Sulejmani unmarked in the box, only for the Serbian's diving header to narrowly miss the post. It was Bastos again who came close after the restart, but this time Kenneth Vermeer's outstretched shin deflected his shot behind. As the half wore on Ajax managed to take the game to the Ligue 1 side, Eriksen's clever promptings allowing the Amsterdam side to periodically breach the Lyon back line.

Jan Vertonghen might have done better than shoot straight at Hugo Lloris on the hour, and the French international goalkeeper then made an outstanding one-handed save to deny Eriksen. Ten minutes later he foiled Sulejmani in a one-on-one. Next up was substitute Vurnon Anita, who drilled over the bar from just outside the penalty area.

Yet it was Lyon who finished stronger, Clément Grenier curling his shot within a whisker of the top corner and Vermeer bravely diving at Bastos' feet after he had wriggled through. Ajax now face the daunting prospect of a trip to Real Madrid CF on 27 September, when Lyon take on GNK Dynamo Zagreb in France.

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