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UEFA Champions League
1 October 2013
• Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
Referee: J. Eriksson
• Attendance: 51692
S. Denswil 90'
M. Balotelli 90'+
That's all from me for tonight guys and girls, thank you very much for joining me for a game that burst to life in the final 10 minutes! Good night.
FULL-TIME: AJAX 1-1 MILAN The hosts will have thought they had won it when Denswill nodded home Schone's corner in the 90th minute, but Balotelli had other ideas, as he first won and then dispatched a penalty in the 94th minute. De Boer's side will be distraught at conceding that late equaliser, if anything it looked like Balotelli was fouling van der Hoorn when the referee awarded the spot-kick.
90' + 5'
And that is pretty much the final kick of the game! It finishes 1-1 here at the Amsterdam ArenA.
90' + 4'
Penalty GoalMario Balotelli
90' + 4'
BALOTELLI SCORES!! MILAN DRAW LEVEL! The striker won the penalty after tangling with van der Hoorn, who was booked for his troubles, and then stepped up and calmly slotted the spot-kick past Cillessen to make it 1-1.
90' + 3'
Yellow CardMike van der Hoorn
90' + 2'
MILAN HAVE A PENALTY! Balotelli steps up to take it...
90' + 2'
BRILLIANT DEFENDING FROM VAN RHIJN! The Ajax right-back hooks the ball off his own goal-line after Constant's cross from the left had been diverted towards goal by Balotelli.
90' + 1'
Four minutes of added time here!
DENSWIL MAKES IT 1-0 TO AJAX!! The young defender rises highest at a corner to plant a firm header past Abbiati to give the hosts a late late lead. Surely there isn't time for Milan to respond?
AJAX HAVE THE BALL IN THE NET! BUT IT'S BEEN RULED OUT! Schone thinks he has found a breakthrough goal for the hosts but play is brought back as the referee adjudges the forward to have handled the ball before smashing it past Abbiati.
GOOD MOVE FROM MILAN!! A well-worked passing move finishes with a snapshot from Balotelli on the right-hand side of the penalty area. Cillessen is alert to keep the Italy international's effort out, as it was heading towards the top left corner.
Another change for the visitors, Urby Emanuelson, another former Ajax player, comes on for Poli.
The Italians have controlled the second half and may feel slightly aggrieved that they are yet to score. Balotelli has come closest so far, with that fine effort that Cillessen tipped onto the bar.
Off goes Robinho for Allegri's side. He is replaced by Alessandro Matri. Can the Italian score a late winner for the Rossoneri here?
STAT: Seven of Milan's last nine goals have come after the 81-minute mark.
The hosts' energy levels have dipped quite dramatically in this second half, after they dominated the opening 45 minutes. They have rarely threatened since the break, as Milan have taken charge of this Champions League tie.
Mike van der Hoorn
Ajax are forced into making their third and final change as Moisander has to be withdrawn following that nasty challenge from Muntari. The centre-back is replaced by Mike van der Hoorn for the final 12 minutes of this game.
Robinho, who is still on the pitch, tries to dribble past van Rhijn on the left-hand side for Milan but he overcooks one of his touches and the ball rolls out for a thrown-in.
Moisander is down receiving treatment inside the centre circle after a dangerous challenge from Muntari. The Milan midfielder is fortunate to avoid a booking there, that looked very cynical.
Milan are well on top as we edge into the final 20 minutes of this game. Balotelli and Montolivo are at the centre of their decent play, and Constant is proving a dangerous outlet down the left-hand side for the visitors.
Milan feel they should have a penalty as Denswil clearly controls the ball with his arm inside his own box. Balotelli et al turn to the referee in search of a penalty but the official, again, waves play on.
Mexes crashes through Fischer to win the ball with a fairly dangerous tackle but the referee allows play to continue, much to the chagrin of the Ajax supporters.
Constant finds Balotelli with a fine cross from the left but the forward's touch is heavy and the ball runs away for him and into the grateful path of Denswil.
Lesley de Sa
AMAZING SAVE FROM CILLESSEN!! The Ajax shotstopper dives to his left to tip Balotelli's devastating strike onto the crossbar and keep the score level. The Italian thought that was in!
STAT: Frank de Boer played in Ajax's 1995 UEFA Champions League final triumph against Milan and also had his debut as the club's caretaker boss against the Rossoneri.
Yellow CardMario Balotelli
The hosts are making a change, but it's not Siem de Jong. Duarte, who has been a shining beacon of hope in their midfield this evening, is replaced by Lasse Schone.
That's a very good tackle from Nigel de Jong. The MIlan midfielder dispossesses Fischer with a smart sliding challenge after the Dane had cut in onto his right foot from the left-hand side.
Never mind that. Siem de Jong, despite his suggested injury, has just found Sigthorsson with a divine cross from the right-hand side. The Ajax striker's headed effort is straight at Abbiati though!
Siem de Jong appears to be struggling for the hosts. He has just gestured to his manager that a change might be needed.
The balance of play has swung in favour of the Italians since the break, and they look the more likely scorers at the Amsterdam ArenA at the moment.
Robinho's corner is comfortably gathered on the penalty spot by the Ajax goalkeeper.
As soon as he won the free kick Balotelli picked the ball up and it was only ever going to be him taking it after that. His effort is well-struck, but the wall does its job and deflects the ball over Cillessen's crossbar and out for a corner.
Mexes picks out Balotelli with a well-weighted pass, and the former Manchester City man turns on a six-pence round Moisander. The Finland international gets in a tangle and catches the Italian, which gifts Milan a free kick 30 yards from goal.
STAT: Ajax have completed 343 passes so far in the game, compared to MIlan's 151.
GOOD SAVE BY CILLESSEN!! Constant links well with Robinho on the left and cuts a clever ball back to Montolivo. The Italian hits it first time with his left foot but Ajax's goalkeeper is equal to the effort as he parries the ball away. That was Milan's first attempt on goal and they came close to taking the lead!
Both sides swap possession three or four times in quick succession, before van Rhijn calms things down a tad by slipping the ball back to Cillessen.
We're back underway in Amsterdam, as Ajax's fans sing 'Every little thing, is going to be alright'. I'm liking that optimism.
Just the 70% possession for Ajax in the first half. I'm actually quite surprised it's not more, they have been caressing the ball and stringing passes together with ease.
Allegri will probably be quite content with his side's performance as they trudge off level in Amsterdam, but their fans will be less so. The Italians have showed very little attacking intent so far, which is a shame because they've got some talented players in their starting XI, particularly a certain Mr Balotelli.
HALF-TIME: AJAX 0-0 MILAN A cagey first half from both sides contributed to 45 minutes with few clear cut chances. Sigthorsson forced Abbiati into making a smart stop early on, and Fischer flashed a shot just wide from distance midway through the half for the hosts, while Milan failed to create one chance of note.
45' + 1'
And there is the half-time whistle! It's 0-0 at the break at the Amsterdam ArenA.
The fourth official signals for one minute of added time at the end of the first half.
Good pressing from the visitors. Ajax look poised to put the ball into Abbiati's penalty area, but Milan turn their pressing up a notch and push their opponents back into their own half.
Embarassing from Balotelli. The striker shows a couple of superb touches to juggle the ball inside the Ajax box, but rather than try and retain the ball after hooking it over Moisander's head, he opts to bundle into the Ajax man and try and claim a penalty.
Yellow CardKevin Constant
STAT: The Dutch champions conceded 16 times in the group stage last season; only FC Nordsjælland (22) leaked more.
ROBINHO UPDATE: The former Brazil international has switched from the left to the right to try and have some input in the game. It nearly works as he is found by a pass from Abate, but his eventual cross into the box is wayward and is headed away by Moisander.
RICOCHET... The ball bobbles through towards Sigthorsson after some miscommunication between Poli and Muntari, but fortunately for the Milan midfielders Abbiati is alert to the danger and races off his line to seize the ball.
Duarte takes the resulting corner, which is nodded away by Abate but only as far as Moisander. The Ajax centre-back, as only an Ajax defender can (apart from maybe Gary Cahill), attempts to hit the ball first time on the half volley, but his effort flashes over Abbiati's crossbar.
Duarte whips the set piece towards goal, but it is too central and Abbiati is able to routinely palm the ball over his crossbar for a corner.
The same Milan player makes a mistake, in his own half this time, as he fouls de Sa. Ajax have a chance to pop the ball in the box and test the Milan defence's aerial ability.
Constant gets forward for the first time down the left for Milan but his cross towards Balotelli is awful, and is gobbled up by Cillessen in the Ajax goal.
That challenge appears to have clipped his wings somewhat though, as he needs treatment from an Ajax physio following the collision with Poli.
Duarte is everywhere for Ajax! The Dutchman has just put in a cross from the right and then 15 seconds later dispossessed Poli on the edge of his own box.
One battle Milan are winning is at left-back. Constant is doing very well against de Sa, although he has been helped early on by the youngster's poor final ball.
Duarte whips a delicious cross into the box that is dying to be nodded goalwards by an Ajax head, but no-one in a white-and-red shirt accepts the invitation and the ball is cleared by Mexes.
STAT: Ajax 76%-24% Milan. Comprehensively dominating possession.
Ajax are pouring forward in search of an opening goal as we pass the midway point in the first half. The Dutch side have dominated possession so far, but have only got that Sigthorsson shot that Abbiati saved to show for it.
RISKY FROM CILLESSEN! The Ajax shotstopper hits a lazy pass forward that nearly runs straight into the path of Muntari. The Ghanaian would have had a clear run at goal if he'd been able to control that ball. Luckily for Cillesen, he didn't.
Nearly brilliant from Balotelli. The Italy international controls the ball well on the volley and tries to prod a pass through to Robinho with his second touch but he gets slightly too much on it and Blind is able to nip in and clear it upfield.
MARVELLOUS STRIKE FROM FISCHER!! Blind does superbly to jynx past Abate and Muntari and flick the ball to Fischer, who takes one touch before driving an effort at goal that swings just the wrong side of Abbiati's left-hand post. The Dane is very unlucky not to give his side the lead there.
No doubt that will tempt a sensational individual goal out of the former Manchester City man. Let's see.
ROBINHO IS ON THE PITCH! Who knew? The Brazilian has been silent so far, I cannot remember him touching the ball.
Fischer dances past a couple of challenges from Abate and Montolivo before sliding the ball back to his own goalkeeper. Tidy play from the youngster, but not exactly dangerous.
Stefano Denswill delves into the defensive dark arts to dispossess Riccardo Montolivo on the near side. The Italian midfielder went down in a heap, but the referee was having none of his theatrics and waves play on. The Ajax defender's challenge was forceful, but fair.
De Sa looks to have the better of Kevin Constant on the right-hand side for the Dutch giants, but the Milan full-back recovers well to get back in a decent defensive position and block the youngster's cross. He could have his hands full tonight Constant, de Sa does not look short of confidence, or pace for that matter.
This game needs a spark. Someone give the ball to Mario.
No.2 – Another corner wasted by Ajax, this time Fischer's curling cross is dealt with comfortably by Philippe Mexes at the near post.
It's Daley Blind's turn to cross the ball into the Milan box, but again Abate is the man that quashes the danger for the visitors as he blocks the ball behind. Milan are struggling to get out of their own half!
The hosts waste the opportunity to test Abbiati in the air though, as they play it short and then lose possession.
Abate is taking no risks as he chests the ball behind for a corner after Ricardo van Rhijn whipped an enticing cross into the Milan box from the right.
STAT: Ajax's 11 games this season have witnessed 47 goals. I like that average. More of the same please.
Balotelli is gesturing about something, I'm not quite sure what. I think he's disagreeing with the linesman's decision to give Ajax a throw when the ball was quite clearly a foot or so over the line.
CHANCE FOR AJAX!! Christian Abbiati gets down well to block Sigthorsson's driven left-foot effort from the left side of the Milan box after Abate was beaten far too easily.
Milan win the ball back after a sloppy pass from Sigthorsson though, and Sulley Muntari finds Balotelli with a neat ball inside the centre circle. The colourful forward is then unceremoniously dumped to his backside as he looks to control the ball by a crunching challenge from Christian Poulsen.
The hosts are knocking the ball about nicely inside the Milan half early on here, and de Sa, who only started his first league game for the club in their impressive weekend win over Go Ahead, has just won a throw-in high on the right-hand side.
They soon surrender possession though, as Ignazio Abate nips in to steal the ball from Fischer.
And we are underway at the Amsterdam ArenA! Ajax win the ball and quickly sweep forward down the left-hand side...
We've had the inspiring Champions League theme tune, which means we're just a few moments away from kick-off over in Amsterdam.
STAT: Ajax have not beaten a Serie A side in their last nine attempts. The last time they beat an Italian side was back in December 2002, when they defeated Roma 2-1.
Everyone loves a stat don't they? Well, here's one to sink your teeth into as the two sides saunter out onto the pitch at the Amsterdam ArenA...
MILAN TEAM NEWS: Mario Balotelli spearheads a Rossoneri side that has an Ajax tinge in central midfield in the form of Nigel de Jong. It is the first time the Netherlands international faces his old side since leaving to join Hamburg in 2006.
AJAX TEAM NEWS: Frank de Boer prefers Jasper Cillessen to Kenneth Vermeer in between the sticks for the hosts, while Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who bagged two in the 6-0 victory over Go Ahead Eagles at the weekend, leads the line in attack. He is flanked on either side by Lesley de Sa and Viktor Fischer.
SUBS: Amelia, Matri, Birsa, Nocerino, Cristante, Emanuelson, Zaccardo
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Montolivo, de Jong, Muntari; Poli, Robinho; Balotelli
SUBS: Vermeer, van der Hoorn, Boilesen, Schone, Hoesen, Klaassen, Andersen
AJAX (4-3-2-1): Cillessen; van Rhijn, Denswil, Moisander, Blind; de Jong, Poulsen, Duarte; de Sa, Sigthorsson; Fischer
The teams are in, so let's have a quick peek at those before kick-off...
While the hosts succumbed to a 4-0 defeat to a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona on matchday one of Group H a fortnight ago, Milan took three points from their match against Celtic with a 2-0 win at San Siro. Both will fancy their chances tonight, and will no doubt consider it a battle between one another for second place in the group behind Barcelona.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to live coverage of the Champions League Group H clash between Ajax and Milan at the Amsterdam ArenA. My name is Charlie Scott and I'll be keeping you up to date with proceedings over in the Netherlands as the game unfolds.
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