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Ajax secures crucial victory in Zagreb

October 20, 2011

By Christiaan Frankin

AMSTERDAM – Ajax took a big step toward qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League by beating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 at Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium Tuesday.

Second half goals by Derk Boerrigter and Christian Eriksen made the difference against a lacklustre Zagreb side.

Siem de Jong should have scored on 11 minutes after Zagreb goalkeeper Ivan Kelava failed to hold on to Jan Vertonghen’s powerful free-kick, but the midfielder-cum- forward missed a seater in front of open goal.

Ajax almost conceded after 37 minutes, when rightback Gregogory van der Wiel needlessly lost possession in his own half only for Ante Rukavina’s shot to go wide.

Van der Wiel was a torrid time at the heart of the Ajax defense, losing possession in dangerous positions on several occasions and also not impressing on the Zagreb’s half.

Despite several further chances from both sides, the score after 45 minutes remained 0-0

Boerrigter then opened scoring early in the second half off a left-footed strike for his first in the competition. Miralem Suleymani set up Boerrigter, dribbling past a horde of Zagreb players before playing in a good pass.

Eriksen put the score beyond reasonable doubt, snatching another goal in the dying moments of the game capitalizing on a quick counter attack.

Ajax moved up to second place in group D with 4 points, after its main rival Olympique Lyon lost 4-0 at Real Madrid

Ajax has a good chance of reaching the first knockout stage if it secures a win against Zagreb in the upcoming home game, and then a return match against Lyon.

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