Liverpool ride luck as own goal secures win at Ajax


Soccer Football - Champions League - Group D - Ajax Amsterdam v Liverpool - Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands - October 21, 2020 Ajax's Davy Klaassen in action with Liverpool's Andrew Robertson REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Liverpool beat Ajax Amsterdam 1-0 away with a fortunate own goal in their Champions League group-stage opener on Wednesday, riding their luck at times but still showing their title credentials.

Ajax fullback Nicolas Tagliafico turned the ball into his own net in the 35th minute to ensure a winning start in Group D for the English champions, who looked the stronger of the two teams despite Ajax creating several good chances at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Davy Klaassen struck the post with a powerful shot and Quincy Promes had a point-blank effort stopped by the legs of Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian as the Dutch club created a handful of excellent opportunities.

Yet Liverpool, who won their sixth Champions League title in 2019, still proved value for their victory, dominating possession and counter attacking at pace while keeping a clean sheet despite missing defensive talisman Virgil van Dijk, who suffered a serious knee injury at the weekend.

Fabinho moved from midfield to centre defence to replace Van Dijk and had an outstanding game, notably hooking a clearance off the line to deny Dusan Tadic just before halftime.

It was one of several chances for Ajax in the first half, as Lisandro Martinez had a header saved by Adrian and Ryan Gravenberch shot narrowly wide, much to the annoyance of Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, who spent the early part of the game berating and shouting instructions to his players.

But his agitation was quelled when Sadio Mane turned the Ajax defence with a swift body movement to set up the goal. He miskicked his own effort, but it caught Tagliafico as he clumsily tried to clear, but instead deflected it into the Ajax net.

"It was a good enough performance to win the game, which at moments was pretty wild. It was not one of our sunny shiny world class football days. It was not perfect but the boys fought like crazy," said a more satisfied Liverpool manager afterwards.

Klopp took off Mane and his strike partners Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah with 30 minutes still left, but replacements Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino kept up the pressure on the home team.

Ajax should have equalised, however, four minutes into stoppage time when Adrian did not properly deal with a cross into the area but substitute Jurgen Ekkelenkamp missed the target.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

100% readers found this article insightful

Next In Football

City's Guardiola turns focus to Premier League after European qualification
Luiz to miss Arsenal's Europa League game due to head injury
Champions League a headache for Atletico, says Simeone
Developing Inter not finished article yet, says two-goal Lukaku
Klopp rates Ajax win up with his best at Liverpool
Romero claims precious point for Atalanta in Midtjylland draw
Atletico must wait as Mueller snatches draw for Bayern
Olympiakos eliminated after Marseille loss, both to fight for Europa League spot
Lukaku double in 3-2 win at Glabdach keeps Inter hopes alive
Porto join Manchester City in advancing in Champions League

Stories You'll Enjoy