Champions League: Records tumble for Lassina Traore as Ajax hold Atalanta

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Lassina Traore
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The Burkina Faso international got his maiden goal in the elite European club competition against the Serie A side at the Gewiss Stadium

Two records tumbled for Lassina Traore, who scored his first Champions League goal in Ajax’s 2-2 draw against Atalanta on Thursday.

Having scored five and assisted three goals in Erik ten Hag’s men's 13-0 decimation of VV Venlo on Saturday, he was handed his first-ever start in the competition against Gian Piero Gasperini’s men.

In the process, the 19-year-old became the 30th different teenager to start a Champions League match for the 34-time Eredivisie kings – the most of any team in the competition’s history, overtaking Arsenal, who are on 29.

The Burkina Faso international justified his place in the starting XI by having a hand in the goals scored by the Dutch team. In the 28th minute, he won a penalty for Ajax having been fouled by Robin Gosens, who challenged him with a high boot while trying to clear a cross from Dusan Tadic.

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Tadic converted the resulting kick after beating goalkeeper Marco Sportiello. Traore doubled his side’s advantage in the 38th minute after slotting home a rebound from Sportiello’s initial save.

So he became the seventh African teenager to find the net on his first start in the tournament. Maxwell Cornet was the last African to achieve that feat – finding the net as Lyon defeated hosts Valencia 2-0 on December 9, 2015.

Despite going into the half-time break with a two-goal advantage, Atalanta put up a fine showing in the second half to ensure the game ended on a no winner, no vanquished note thanks to Duvan Zapata’s quickfire brace.

Traore was in action from start to finish alongside Cameroon international Andre Onana. Morocco defender Noussair Mazraoui was handed a starter’s role but was substituted in the 56th minute for Sean Klaiber.

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Mazraoui’s compatriot Zakaria Labyad replaced Anthony in the 90th minute as Burkina Faso’s Hassane Bande was not listed for the game.

Thanks to this result, Ajax are third in Group D with one point from two games - five points behind leaders Liverpool, who subdued Midtjylland 2-0 at Anfield.

The Burkinabe teenager would be hoping to continue with his rich scoring form when the Sons of the Gods welcome Fortuna Sittard to the Johan Cruyff Arena on Saturday before visiting Midtjylland three days later in the Champions League.

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