CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Ajax 1 – 1 Paris Saint-Germain





Ajax clinched a fantastic point with a 74th minute Lasse Schöne trademark free-kick that denied Paris Saint-Germain all three points in the opening group game of the Champions League writes Will Burns.

The money men from France took the lead after just 15 minutes when Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani slotted into the open goal on the rebound from former Ajax legend Zlatan Ibrahimović’s blocked effort. The chance came about after an horrific error from Ajax left-back Nicolai Boilesen. The young Dane had conceded possession to Brazilian playmaker Lucas Moura by stumbling when attempting to clear a searching ball down the right.

Laurent Blanc’s side continued to apply pressure on Jasper Cillessen’s goal, but were unable to create any further opportunities as Frank de Boer’s defence performed with sturdiness to go in at half-time just the one goal down.

Ajax almost found a breach in their goal nearly straight after the restart when Finnish defender Niklas Moisander squandered the ball, only for Lucas to fire wide with only Cillessen to beat.  The hosts came close to capitalising on Lucas’ recklessness minutes later when substitute Niki Zimling saw his shot skim over the crossbar from long range.

However, Lucas continued to be at the head of PSG’s attack and would have found a deserved goal if not for Cillessen, who produced a terrific save to tip the Brazil international’s effort round the post after he had been played through by a excellent ball from Ibrahimović.

Ajax only threatened from outside the area with not one of their 11 attempts on goal were taken from inside the box but PSG’s lack of composure up front was punished on 74 minutes when the Amsterdammers found the all important equaliser.

Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne curled a perfect free-kick beyond the helpless Salvatore Sirigu, who despite getting a hand to the shot, could not keep the ball from heading into the net and exploding the Amsterdam ArenA crowd to their feet.

Ajax smelt blood and Schöne then almost completed an unlikely turnaround just minutes later with a low drive from a set-piece that forced Sirigu push the ball onto the post. PSG also nearly claimed the winner but Ajax held on for a draw that should give them hope of progression from the gorup that also contains FC Barcelona and APOEL Nicosia. Schöne’s goal ensured that Ajax stay undefeated in the last four Champions League matches, the Amsterdammers best run since October 2005 to February 2006.


AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Boilesen, Klaassen, Viergever (Zimling 46), Serero, Schöne (Milik 82), Sigthórsson (El Ghazi 61), Andersen.

SUBS NOT USED: Boer, Van der Hoorn, Denswil, Duarte.

GOALS: Schöne 74.

BOOKINGS: Klaassen 30, Veltman 56, El Ghazi 68, Serero 69.

PSG: Sirigu, Van der Wiel, David Luiz, Marquinhos, Maxwell, Motta, Verratti (Pastore 81), Matuidi, Lucas Moura (Lavezzi 81), Cavani, Ibrahimović.

SUBS NOT USED: Douchez, Digne, Cabaye, Camara, Bahebeck.

GOALS: Cavani 14.

BOOKINGS: Marquinhos 72.


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