Ajax Amsterdam 0 - 1 SL Benfica: Ajax crash out of Champions League as Darwin Nunez winner sends Benfica through

Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2022 by PA

Ajax Amsterdam 0 - 1 SL Benfica: Ajax crash out of Champions League as Darwin Nunez winner sends Benfica through

Darwin Nunez got the only goal as Benfica stunned Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Erik ten Hag’s men had scored twice in the first leg in Portugal but were unable to breach the visitors’ defence at the Johan Cruyff Arena and went out 3-2 on aggregate.

Ajax thought they had taken an early lead, but Sebastien Haller’s effort was ruled out for offside against Dusan Tadic, who had crossed the ball for his team-mate’s close-range finish.

Ajax striker Edson Alvarez then headed wide as the home side continued to dominate and the same player put another header off target with 20 minutes on the clock.

Benfica slowly grew into the contest, but Goncalo Ramos was off target with an effort from a corner.

Ramos flashed another header across the face of the Ajax goal as the visitors searched for the opener.

As the half-hour approached Tadic’s cross was headed clear to the edge of the area from where Steven Berghuis fired wide before seeing another effort blocked just a minute later.

Ten minutes before the break Benfica goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos made a save to deny Antony as the away side continued to soak up pressure.

Vlachodimos then tipped over a shot from Ryan Gravenberch, who had beaten three defenders before unleashing an effort from the edge of the area.

Benfica’s first real chance came after 57 minutes, but, when Nicolas Otamendi flicked on a corner, Jan Vertonghen headed wide from close range.

Daley Blind delivered a fine cross for Antony, but the Brazilian missed the target with a header when he should have done better.

With 13 minutes left Uruguayan forward Nunez made Ajax pay for failing to take their chances as he glanced in Alejandro Grimaldo’s free-kick.

Ajax had plenty of possession but could not break down the Benfica defence as the Portuguese side held out.

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