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Season’s first, Barcelona far from best

Ajax Amsterdam stayed in contention for the last 16 of the Champions League after becoming the first side to beat Barcelona this season with a 2-1 triumph on Tuesday.

sports Updated: Nov 28, 2013 01:10 IST
Ajax Amsterdam

Ajax Amsterdam stayed in contention for the last 16 of the Champions League after becoming the first side to beat Barcelona this season with a 2-1 triumph on Tuesday.

Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen scored to give Ajax a surprise halftime lead, but straight after the break defender Joel Veltman was red-carded for a tackle on Neymar and Xavi pulled a goal back from the penalty spot.

Injury-plagued Barcelona, who had already qualified for the knockout stages from Group H, applied pressure in search of an equaliser but Ajax held out to wild applause in Amsterdam Arena. “I said Ajax would be the first team to beat Barcelona with the football we always want to play, which is attacking football,” said Ajax manager Frank de Boer. “After the sending-off it became difficult and dangerous but we showed our lion’s heart.”

Ajax stay third in the group, one point behind AC Milan, who they must now beat away on Dec. 11 to qualify. Barcelona, without the injured Lionel Messi, are two points clear and not yet sure of top place. Barca coach Gerardo Martino said: “In the first half we didnt have a good attitude. At an individual level we were not as good as Ajax.”

Injury-plagued Barcelona, who had already qualified for the knockout stages from Group H, applied pressure in search of an equaliser but Ajax held out to wild applause in Amsterdam Arena. “I said Ajax would be the first team to beat Barcelona with the football we always want to play, which is attacking football,” said Ajax manager Frank de Boer. “After the sending-off it became difficult and dangerous but we showed our lion’s heart.”

Ajax stay third in the group, one point behind AC Milan, who they must now beat away on Dec. 11 to qualify. Barcelona, without the injured Lionel Messi, are two points clear and not yet sure of top place. Barca coach Gerardo Martino said: “In the first half we didnt have a good attitude. At an individual level we were not as good as Ajax.”