Soccer-Ajax maintain 100% record as Haller scores again


Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Ajax Amsterdam v Sporting Lisbon - Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam, Netherlands - December 7, 2021 Ajax Amsterdam's Sebastien Haller scores their first goal from the penalty spot REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Sebastien Haller kept up his scoring streak to help Ajax Amsterdam end the Champions League group stage with a 100% record as they beat Sporting Lisbon 4-2 at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Tuesday.

Haller became only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017-18 to score in each game of the six-match group phase as he tucked away an eighth-minute penalty to take his tally in this year’s competition to 10.

Sporting equalised through Nuno Santos in the 22nd minute but Brazilian Antony restored the Dutch side’s lead just before halftime after a horror defensive error by the visitors.

David Neres extended Ajax’s advantage after 58 minutes and four minutes later Steven Berghuis added the fourth, but Sporting got a 78th minute consolation with Bruno Tabata’s thunderous side-footed shot off the underside of the crossbar.

Ajax topped Group C with a maximum 18 points while the Portuguese champions, who had already been confirmed runners-up, finished with nine, using the last group match to give several young players a first run-out in European competition.

The match was played behind closed doors because of Dutch government restrictions imposed following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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