Ajax eliminated in EL quarterfinals after draw against AS Roma
Ajax failed to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League on Thursday. The team of trainer Erik ten Hag was stronger than AS Roma in the return in Italy, but did not get further than a 1-1 draw. After the 1-2 loss in Amsterdam last week, that was not enough to continue.
Before half time, Ajax had much more ball possession and the best chances in Stadio Olimpico, but there was no scoring. At the start of the second half, substitute Brian Brobbey signed for the 0-1 and shortly afterwards, a goal by Dusan Tadic was rejected.
The team from Amsterdam hoped for the 0-2, but it was Roma striker Edin Dzeko who scored eighteen minutes before time (1-1). After that equalizer, Ajax could no longer make a fist, which means that the club’s European season is over.
AS Roma play in the semi-finals against Manchester United, which was too strong for Granada. The other semi-final battle is between Arsenal and Villarreal.
For Ajax, the KNVB cup final in De Kuip against Vitesse remains on Sunday and the team from Amsterdam are on course for the championship. When the club wins the next two games against FC Utrecht and AZ, the 35th national title is a fact.
Ajax has 74 percent possession of the ball before the break
Ajax knew that it was a difficult task in Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening and it almost quickly became even more difficult. In the eighth minute, AS Roma midfielder Jordan Veretout hit, but the goal was disallowed because the Frenchman was offside.
An Italian lead had also not been deserved, because Ajax combined and soon got opportunities. On a pass from Antony, Klaassen could have made 0-1, but the Orange-international’s shot was blocked. Moments later, Tadic fired on goalkeeper Pau López after a low cross, Sean Klaiber. It turned out to be the last action of right back Klaiber, who was replaced by Perr Schuurs after an injury in the 22nd minute.
In the remainder of the first half Ajax continued to dominate. Ten Hag’s team had no less than 74 percent possession of the ball before the break, but that did not lead to more chances. It ended with a punt from Tadic right in the hands of López.
Brobbey replaces Antony halfway through
Hoping to force more, Ten Hag brought Brobbey halfway through, who already scored twice this Europa League season, ahead of Antony. And that had the desired result after just four minutes. The nineteen-year-old attacker beat the Roma defenders at speed with a long pass from Schuurs and tapped the ball past López (1-0).
In the 54th minute Ajax even cheered for the 2-0, but after interference from the VAR it was rejected by referee Anthony Taylor. Tadic shot in the rebound on a Brobbey bet, but Nicolás Tagliafico had committed a foul.
Ajax was disappointed and in the 72nd minute the Eredivisie leader had to deal with another setback. During a counter, Jurriën Timber slipped, after which the cross from Riccardo Calafiori came right in front of Dzeko’s feet via the leg of Ryan Gravenberch. The Bosnian striker finished coolly (1-1).
Ajax did not recover from that blow. The Ten Hag team no longer succeeded in creating great opportunities, not even with the attacking substitutes Oussama Idrissi and Lassina Traoré. Roma held out, which means that Ajax can only win national prizes this season.