A sloppy Ajax escaped defeat in the duel with APOEL Nicosia. The champion of Cyprus had the best chances especially after the break, but also did not take advantage after a second yellow card for Noussair Mazraoui (0-0). The decision is made for a place in the group stage of the Champions League next Wednesday, when both teams meet in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
Ajax only looked a bit like the successful team in the Champions League last season in the opening phase. The visitors combined in the first quarter so easily through the defense of the home team that the opening goal seemed a matter of time. Dusan Tadic bumped into goalkeeper Vid Belec and Donny van de Beek just missed the ball by the detached Hakim Ziyech. In a promising position, Tadic also shot just wide and keeper Belec also got a fist against a bet by Daley Blind.
Ajax could blame itself for the fact that APOEL Nicosia managed to stay upright after the first fifteen minutes. The champion of the Netherlands became increasingly sloppy and gave the home team the opportunity to counter quickly due to the much loss of ball. Before half-time, Mazraoui, Razvan Marin and Joël Veltman received a yellow card when they tried to correct an error. Musa Tamari, the tastemaker of the home team, was also increasingly given the opportunity to show that he can play football well. He was even close to the opening goal, but shot wide.
Ajax was not only sloppy, but also looking for the right coordination. Without the departed Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and Lasse Schöne, the team from the capital is still vulnerable if the opponent can quickly counter from a well-organized defense. Marin, who came over from Standard Liège, is still having a hard time. The Romanian not only chose bad position, but too often lost the ball unnecessarily. After an hour, Marin also had to make way for Sergiño Dest.
Mazraoui, who moved to Marin, did not do much better. The international of Morocco had to leave with its second yellow card in the eightieth minute. Just before his unsuccessful sliding, Andrija Pavlović headed the crossbar on behalf of APOEL and Lucas Souza met goalkeeper André Onana.