Ronald Koeman expects to see AFC Ajax progress after watching them beat Olympique Lyonnnais 2-0.
Ronald Koeman expects to see his AFC Ajax side progress to the UEFA Champions League's second group stage after watching them climb to second spot in Group D with a 2-0 victory over Olympique Lyonnnais in the Gerland stadium.
Ajax welcome Internazionale FC to the Amsterdam ArenA in a fortnight safe in the knowledge that, even if they lose, only a Lyon victory against Rosenborg BK will end their involvement in the competition. Koeman said: "I'm very confident for the next game - I can't see Lyon winning in Rosenborg. We were not considered to be potential Group D winners but we've shown we have the quality required to qualify - and I'm confident of qualification."
In truth, Koeman's charges were not outstanding, but ground out a result with a backs-to-the-wall performance hampered by Cristian Chivu's 62nd-minute dismissal and five further yellow cards. Steven Pienaar and Rafael van der Vaart scored the goals at either end of a scrappy encounter.
Koeman had no complaints about Chivu's red card, shown for upending Tony Vairelles, instead applying gentle criticism to his captain. He said: "My players took too many risks and Chivu must learn to master himself in these situations. Sometimes he is a little too aggressive. But that aside, I am very happy - it's a fantastic result for the team. I'm very proud of the team - they resisted well"
Le Guen astonished
The game's major talking point was a disallowed effort from Lyon forward Sonny Anderson on the stroke of half-time. Home fans in the ground were convinced the Brazilian's downward header had crossed the line before Chivu's hasty clearance and Koeman's opposite number Paul Le Guen agreed with them. He said: "I'm astonished. I suppose it's a new argument for the use of video replays but tonight that should not have been necessary - it was so evidently a goal."
'Out of luck'
Lyon goalkeeper Grégory Coupet said: "We were out of luck tonight. We didn't play that badly - the will was present and we applied pressure, but we couldn't quite solve the equation. We could talk all night about the disallowed goal, but we can't change that - we'll just have to go and play our best in Norway."
Although Lyon could qualify with a draw if Ajax beat Inter, Le Guen added: "My team was at times too passive tonight but they were not tired - they got stronger as the game went on. But now we must win in Rosenborg and nobody has done that so far - we will have to play for the victory."