UCL roundup: Ajax qualify for group stage thanks to Mexico’s Alvarez
A roundup of all of Thursday’s UEFA Champions League qualifying action…
[ UCL POTS/DRAW: Where will Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs end up? ]
Ajax 2-0 (2-0) APOEL Nicosia
Wednesday was a good day for both the United States and Mexico national teams, with regard to Ajax’s Champions League fortunes, as 18-year-old American right back Sergiño Dest and 21-year-old Mexican defender Edson Alvarez shone brightly.
Dest, just hours after receiving his first call-up to Gregg Berhalter’s senior national team, played all 90 minutes for last season’s semifinalists and acquitted himself quite well in Ajax’s biggest game of the season thus far. Alvarez, who is a virtual lock to be named to Tata Martino’s team for next week’s clash with the USMNT, bagged the opening goal — his first for Ajax after joining the reigning Eredivisie champions for $17 million this summer.
Ajax thought they had a second in the 50th minute, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar saw his goal wiped away for a rather dubious offside decision via video review.
No need for Ajax to fret, though, as Dusan Tadic finished a free-flowing sequence with a stunning strike from a tight angle in the 80th minute to make it 2-0 on the day, and on aggregate.
Elsewhere in UCL qualifying
Club Brugge 2-1 (3-1) LASK
Slavia Prague 1-0 (2-0) CFR Cluj