Last year, Ajax were a stunning Champions League semi-finalist. This year, they have been knocked out in the group stages as Valencia progressed with its 0-1 victory yesterday night.
The only goal of the game
Rodrigo Moreno scored the only goal during the 24th minute of the first half of the match. With assistance from Ferrán Torres, Moreno skilfully booted the ball into the top right corner of the goal.
Ajax brought on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at half-time in attempt to combat Valencia’s strong defence.
Valencia’s defender, Gabriel, was given a red card for bashing heads with Ajax’s Dusan Tadic. Tadic received a yellow card as well.
With frequent possession of the ball in the second half, Ajax pushed hard for an equaliser but to no avail.
The surprising win left Valencia coach, Albert Celades, elated “We’ve had a very good group stage, and to finish top of the group is something. It’s all down to the boys,” ESPN reports.
The loss is not only a sporting misery, but a financial defeat as well. Ajax loses out on at least ten million euros, Nos reports.
What’s next for Ajax?
Valencia proceed as the Group H winners. Chelsea is in second ranking after their 2-1 win over Lille. Ajax will now join AZ of Alkmaar in the knock-out rounds of the UEFA Cup.
But more then that, it’s the loss of status. Ajax was looking to start a new golden era and were nicely on their way with their stellar performance in last year’s Champions League edition. Now they’re back to the ‘middle league’ again as the UEFA Cup is nowhere near the status of the Champions League.
Futhermore, the sale of De Jong and De Ligt proved too much as we’ve seen yesterday. And this year might very well be the last for aces such as Ziyech, Van de Beek and Tagliafico.
Ajax aptly posted on their Twitter after the defeat “life isn’t always easy, but that’s no reason to give up”
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) December 10, 2019
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