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United Arab Emirates
3 - 0
D. Klaassen (62)
D. Tadić (82)
B. Brobbey (90+2)
Johan Cruijff Arena
Ajax v Young Boys Live Commentary,
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90' + 2'
3 - 0
2 - 0
1 - 0
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target
That is all from the first leg of this Europa League last-16 tie, until next time!
Ten Hag's men return to Eredivisie action at the weekend with a trip to PEC Zwolle as they look to extend their lead at the top of the Dutch top-flight. Young Boys also face an away fixture in their next game, travelling to St. Gallen in the Swiss Super League before reuniting with one another in this Europa League tie next Thursday.
Ajax stretch their unbeaten run to 20 games in all competitions with a commanding 3-0 victory over Young Boys. The Swiss side defended resolutely in the first half, however, after Klaassen grabbed the second-half opener, they were powerless to stop Tadic and Brobbey from adding late goals for the hosts. Up the other end, the visitors rarely offered much, failing to record a shot on target at Stekelenburg's goal as the home side dominated this Europa League tie from start to finish.
90' + 4'
FULL-TIME: AJAX 3-0 YOUNG BOYS
90' + 2'
Gravenberch opens up his body position, coasting towards goal before rolling through Brobbey with a right-footed throughball to make it 3-0 to the hosts.
90' + 2'
GOOOOOALLLL!!!! 3-0 AJAX! Young Boys attempt to play out from the back but the hosts' defence are pushed so high up they can't escape. The home side then work it through the middle with Gravenberch, who slots in Brobbey in the area. The substitute takes one touch before poking a left-footed effort under Faivre and into the back of the net. Could that be the tie over before the second leg has even started?
There will be three minutes of added time as Ajax knock possession from side to side with real authority in this Europa League tie.
Seoane looks like a worried manager on the touchline. He will be aware a two-goal disadvantage will be hard enough to comeback from but, as he watches Ajax bombard Faivre's goal, he will be concerned they could be heading into the second leg with an even greater numerical disadvantage.
OFF THE LINE! After Brobbey failed to convert his back-to-back chances, Tadic recovers the loose ball, dancing one way then the other and reaching the left of goal. Faivre rushes out but Tadic lifts a left-footed shot over the goalkeeper, only to see his strike denied on the line by the head of Lefort.
SAVE AND OFF THE POST! Klaassen lifts a short pass over the top of the defence to find Brobbey inside the area. The substitute's first left-footed effort is saved by the feet of Faivre, with the rebound falling back to the forward to the left of goal. With Lefort on the line, Brobbey pokes his second left-footed strike into the right-hand post and the ball cannons away from danger.
One scorer in the previous Europa League tie replaces another as Fassnacht makes way for Siebatcheu.
Neres cuts a frustrated figure as he wanders off the pitch and the Brazilian is replaced by Brobbey.
GOAAAALLLL!!! 2-0 AJAX! Tadic drills past Faivre at his near post with a low left-footed effort to grab an important second goal for the hosts. Initially, Tagliafico had pounced on a loose forward pass by Lustenberger before seeing his blocked shot fall to the feet of Tadic inside the area. After a brief spell of poor play from the hosts, they have surprised Young Boys to capitalise and gain a two-goal advantage in this Europa League last-16 tie.
Lefort is allowed to drive down the left-hand channel, eventually opting to play a throughball to Fassnacht but the pass is slightly overhit and finds the hands of Stekelenburg. On the touchline, it looks like Ten Hag is preparing Brobbey to come on.
Schuurs looks to drive a pass into the feet of Tadic but it runs straight through to Faivre. In the last few minutes, Ajax have lacked the fluidity which had been the reason for their domination in the majority of this game. Ten Hag will be warning against complacency now as the game approaches its final ten minutes.
Despite only being on the pitch for six minutes, Sierro has found his way into the referee's book for a late, needless tackle on Alvarez in the middle of the park.
Young Boys get the chance to cross from a wide set-piece but once again Lauper wastes the opportunity as he fails to beat the first man. Stekelenburg, who hasn't made a save as of yet, then collects a long ball over the top before smashing it up to Tadic.
Alvarez produces the perfect last-ditch sliding tackle to dispossess Mambimbi in the right-hand channel. Initially, it looked like Mambimbi could have escaped the attentions of Ajax's defence, courtesy of Sierro's smart pass but Alvarez did well to intervene.
Stekelenburg gets a rare touch of the ball as the hosts work it back to their own area. The goalkeeper then launches out to Idrissi, who cuts inside and plays backwards to Alvarez. After searching for Klaassen's opener, Ten Hag's side are now playing far more sensibly and protecting their one-goal advantage.
The Swiss visitors are unbeaten in their last two matches against Dutch opposition; they beat Feyenoord at home in the group stages of this competition in 2019-20 before drawing in Holland. Unless they can find a late equaliser here, their unbeaten run will come to an end in this Europa League tie.
After being cautioned for his late foul on Neres in this half, Lauper, is brought off for Sierro in midfield.
Elia, who was Young Boys' brightest attacking spark in the first half, comes off for Mambimbi.
CHANCE! Neres retrieves possession from the corner, crossing over the head of Lustenberger and Hefti at the back post to find Tadic. Ajax's captain has acres of space and time to think but manages to send his first-time left-footed volley wide of Faivre's goal with just the goalkeeper to beat from close range.
Idrissi's first involvement comes on the left-hand side as he looks to link-up with Tadic, however, Hefti is there to cut out the one-two and poke behind for a corner to the hosts.
At the same time as Schuurs' introduction, Antony slowly wanders off the pitch and he is replaced up top by Idrissi.
Ten Hag makes his first change of the game as he sends on Schuurs for Rensch at right-back.
Alvarez considers going down after a strong tackle with Elia but opts to continue for the hosts. It was Alvarez's attacking initiative that offered Tadic to feed Klaassen for the opener, so Ten Hag will be desperate for the home side's number four to remain on the pitch for the time being at least.
Aebischer goes over the top of Klaassen, who looked to have got to the loose ball late, and the visitors' midfielder receives a booking for his efforts.
With Klaassen's opener, will the game open up? Young Boys have been happy to camp on the edge of their area but, now they are a goal down, will they chase the game and that all important away goal?
GOALLLLLLLL!!! 1-0 AJAX! Alvarez wanders through the middle, poking a pass towards the feet of Tadic. The hosts’ captain then offloads to Klaassen, who storms into the area before slamming a left-footed volley into the top left corner past Faivre. Zesiger and Lustenberger were caught on their heels as the midfielder's driving run puts the visitors a goal down.
Antony looks for the overlapping run of Gravenberch but Lefort recovers well to capture the loose ball before the midfielder can progress to the right of goal. As was the case in the first half, Ajax aren't letting the visitors out of their own half as Ten Hag's men continue to search for that crucial opening goal.
After seeing his captain go down, Zesiger now finds himself on the floor, courtesy of a loose arm by Klaassen. The visitors protest, however, the referee suggests the challenge wasn't intentional and play resumes with a Young Boys free-kick.
Lustenberger and Tadic clash for the third time, with the centre-back winning a free-kick for the first time against the hosts' captain. The visitors' skipper looks to be in some discomfort but eventually returns to his feet without requiring any medical attention.
Antony again ghosts inside, this time opting to cross rather than shoot and Hefti has to turn it behind for a corner at the back post. Tadic swings in the resulting set-piece but Lauper climbs the highest to head away the danger.
Young Boys have reached the last 16 of either the Europa League/UEFA Cup or Champions League/European Cup for the first time since 1960-61, when they were eliminated 3-8 on aggregate by Hamburg in the European Cup.
WIDE! Antony does incredibly well to bring down a long ball, working away from the tackles of Lefort and Zesiger before curling a left-footed effort from outside the area towards Faivre's right. Unfortunately for the hosts, the Brazilian's curling strike fall the wrong side of the post and goes out for a goal-kick.
Tagliafico becomes the first name in the book for the hosts as he is booked for a late challenge on Elia near the halfway line.
SAVE! Tadic puts Lefort on the floor with his skills, making room to cross towards the back post. At the far stick, Tagliafico knocks it back across goal to Alvarez who, from inside the six-yard area, heads into the hands of Faivre. Another great chance for the hosts but the scores remain level at 0-0.
Ngamaleu thinks he has coasted past Rensch in the left-hand channel but the right-back has a different idea, speeding back to dispossess the substitute and sheltering it out for a goal-kick. With Ngamaleu's introduction for Sulejmane, it already looks like a better contest over on the far side.
Lauper is both late and high in a sliding tackle on Neres near the left-hand touchline and unsurprisingly he becomes the first yellow card of the game.
Tadic and Lustenberger clash for the second time this game, with both of them ending up on the floor again. However, this time, the referee doesn't offer either side the free-kick as he insists play goes on before the game degenerates into a sloppy series of fouls.
Aebischer's first touch is poor, meaning Klaassen and Tadic can intervene in the middle of the park. The Swiss side's midfielder smashes into the hosts' captain and the referee has no choice but to award Ajax an early free-kick.
Both sets of players are back out after half-time and the referee gets the second half of this Europa League last-16 tie underway!
Ngamaleu comes on for Sulejmane at half-time, whether that is for tactical reasons or injury-enforced remains unclear.
Looking ahead to the next 45 minutes of this tie, Ten Hag looks like he will keep throwing bodies forward in an attempt to find an opener. The hosts could look to Traore or Labyad if they want some added attacking impetus. In contrast, the visitors may be content with their away performance as of yet, however, Seoane will be demanding more from his side when opportunities arise up top.
Despite Ajax's dominance in the first half, the hosts have nothing to show for their hard work and prolonged spells of possession. Gravenberch and Neres went close for Ten Hag's men but it was Antony who had the best two chances of the half, however, the Brazilian failed to convert either as Faivre remained strong to deny him. Offering relatively little at the other end, Young Boys will be happy to wander down the tunnel at half-time with the scores level at 0-0.
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME: AJAX 0-0 YOUNG BOYS
The hosts have nearly every player in the opposition's half, meaning Elia and Nsame look like great options on the counter-attack. However, this isn't entirely true, as when the away side do get the ball, they are just launching it long in an attempt to escape the barrage of Ajax attacks in the last few minutes.
Neres looks like he doesn't fancy Lauper's strong, sliding tackle as the Brazilian jumps out the way in the left-hand channel. As has been the case for most of the half, Ten Hag's men then work the ball from side to side as they look for an opening before half-time in this Europa League fixture.
Antony dummies past a pass for Tadic to receive the ball but the pair are on different wavelengths, which means Lustenberger can intervene outside the area. The Swiss team then enjoy a rare spell of possession but ultimately end up going long through Faivre as Ajax close the opposition's defence down.
Elia, who has looked like Young Boys' brightest spark, beat Rensch easily before looking to cross towards the back post. Unfortunately for the visitors, the forward overhits his cross, which allows Tagliafico to race away down the left-hand side once he has recovered possession.
Tadic catches Sulejmane extremely late in the middle of the park and is perhaps lucky to escape the first caution of the game. The hosts' captain pleads his innocence with the referee before play resumes with the away side's free-kick.
Faivre attempts to distribute towards Fassnacht to start a counter-attack, however, Martinez is aware of the danger, dropping back to win the ball before playing to Rensch. Elia and Nsame then look to be two-on-two with the Ajax defence but a poor pass lets the visitors down on the left.
Tadic shifts one way then the other, losing Hefti with relatively ease before getting his head up and looking to cross towards Antony. When the captain manages to deliver his pass, Faivre is the quickest to react and catches it under no pressure at all.
Since joining Ajax for the 2018-19 season, Tadic has been directly involved in 20 goals (nine goals & 11 assists) in 28 appearances in major European competition, at least eight more than any other player for the club in that time.
The hosts work the ball intricately around the area with Gravenberch, Tadic and Neres all getting involved. Tadic is eventually the one to shoot from the left of goal but he finds the hands of Faivre at the near post.
Lauper goes roaming down the right-hand channel, crossing from the wide position towards the near post. Nsame and Elia look interested for a moment until Stekelenburg races out to command his area and collect the ball high above the heads of the opposition.
Mohamed Ali Camara
Camara, who had shown no earlier signs of injury, hobbles off the pitch and he will be replaced by Zesiger at the back. That's not ideal for the visitors, who have defended resolutely so far.
Aebischer has a rare chance to cross from a wide set-piece but misses all of his intended targets as he whips the ball straight into the hands of Stekelenburg. Zesiger appears to be getting ready on the touchline so it looks like there could be an early change in this game.
Neres and Tadic opt to play another one-two, with the latter ghosting inside onto his weaker right foot and blasting a wild effort wide of the target from the edge of the area. Neres throws his arms in the air as if to suggest he feels he was a better passing option in the left-hand channel.
Gravenberch takes the free-kick instead of Tadic, whipping his right-footed delivery onto the head of Alvarez, who towers above Camara but can only head high and wide of Faivre's goal.
The two captains clatter into one another as Lustenberger catches Tadic with a crunching tackle. Both captains remain on the floor after the centre-back's strong challenge and, when the pair make it back to their feet, the hosts have a free-kick in a good position to the right of goal.
After a strong start by Ten Hag's team, the Swiss visitors have grown into the game slightly, limiting Ajax's opportunities but they are still struggling to create chances of their own at the other end. Neres is then nearly released by Tadic, however, Faivre is quick off his line to dive on the loose ball and sweep up.
Neres glides past two or three of the away side, reaching the area, where he goes down under the pressure of Camara as the ball races through to Faivre. Neither side seem too bothered as the Brazilian gets to his feet without even asking about a potential penalty and play goes on.
Gravenberch wastes the set-piece opportunity as he sends his outswinging delivery straight out for a goal-kick. Nsame then looks to have created an opening at the other end, only to pass to the wrong man in the area, finding the feet of Martinez instead of Elia.
Tagliafico makes good progression in the left-hand channel, coasting to the byline before looking for the head of Tadic at the near post. Camara reads the cross all the way and heads out to Neres, who goes in search of Antony at the back post but Sulejmani is there to turn behind for a corner to the hosts.
Elia holds off the attention of Alvarez, playing to Aebischer, who executes a wonderful flick to make it past Martinez and into the area. Unfortunately, Aebischer's cross is then far too ambitious and sails over the heads of all of his team-mates in the box.
Hefti puts Faivre under pressure with a challenging pass backwards, however, despite Ajax's high press, the opportunity fades away as Neres needlessly fouls the away side's full-back on the right-hand side.
CLOSE! Rensch moves inwards, playing to Neres, who exchanges a one-two with Tadic on the left before making it into the area. The Brazilian forward then hammers a left-footed effort past Faivre but also the wrong side of the left-hand post. Another chance for Ten Hag's men goes amiss as they continue to dominate the opening stages of this game.
SAVE! Faivre pulls off another save, this time diving to his left to deny Gravenberch's effort which seemed destined for the top right corner. Hefti once again sat off the midfielder, allowing him to cut inside onto his right foot and unleash a powerful strike towards goal. With Young Boys offering little up top, Faivre is keeping his side in this game so far.
After Martinez's wayward pass into midfield, Fassnacht nearly picks out Elia running into the area but the pass is slightly overhit and travels out for a goal-kick to the hosts.
WIDE! Gravenberch drifts inside, finding Tadic on the right-hand side of the area. The hosts' number 10 squares up Lefort before crossing towards the penalty spot, where Antony flicks a header inches wide of Faivre's right-hand post. That was all too easy for Tadic to find space and it should serve as a warning sign for the visitors.
Ajax have reached the last 16 of the Europa League for the first time since 2016-17. They defeated FC Kobenhavn at this stage that season, making it all the way to the final before losing to Manchester United.
Lustenberger's weak headed clearance falls to Antony, who tries to play the role of playmaker and tee up Tadic outside the area, however, Camara is there to intercept and get his fellow centre-back out of trouble.
As the game approaches the 10-minute mark, Young Boys have rarely ventured into the hosts' half. Klaassen and Alvarez are pulling all the strings for Ten Hag's men but, as of yet, the home side have nothing to show for their hard work in and around the Swiss team's area.
Antony goes one-on-one with Lustenberger, getting the better of the centre-back to win the first corner of the game. The hosts play it short but Camara is there at the front post to head away when they do eventually cross into the middle.
GREAT SAVE! Neres has acres of space on the left-hand side, reaching the byline and drilling across for Antony. The Ajax forward runs onto the low cross but can only shoot into the feet of Faivre from close range. A wonderful save inside the area by the away side's goalkeeper stops the Brazilian opening the scoring.
Tadic surprisingly beats Camara in the air, bringing down Stekelenburg's long strike and winning a free-kick for the hosts around 45 yards from goal. Ten Hag's men opt to play backwards, however, as they appear content to retain possession in the early stages of this Europa League tie.
Rensch drives a pass down the right-hand side looking for Antony, however, Lefort is alert to the danger, stepping in before giving the ball back to the home side near the halfway line. Martinez goes in search of Tadic over the top but Camara chests back to his goalkeeper.
Tadic leads Ajax's early charge through the middle but the move falls down at the feet of Neres, who takes too long trying to take on Lustenberger one-on-one. The visitors then win a free-kick in the centre of the pitch to get their first chance to work an opportunity in possession.
Referee Marco Guida blows his whistle to get this Europa League last-16 tie underway!
The players are making their way onto the pitch and shortly it will be time for kick-off.
The only previous European tie between Ajax and Young Boys was over two legs in the Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals in 1987-88 – Ajax won both legs 1-0, eventually finishing as runners-up to KV Mechelen.
Gerardo Seoane opts for 10 changes, rotating his side after their draw with FC Vaduz. David von Ballmoos misses out with concussion, meaning second-choice goalkeeper Faivre starts. The only player to stay in Young Boys’ starting eleven is defender Camara, while scorer from the previous round Siebatcheu is amongst those who drop to the bench.
Erik ten Hag makes two changes to his last starting eleven against Groningen. Sebastien Haller is ineligible for the competition and Kudus is the other to drop out. In to replace the duo are Rensch and Antony, this means it is likely Alvarez will push further forward into midfield and Tadic will operate up top as a false nine.
SUBS: Fabian Rieder, Quentin Maceiras, Leandro Zbinden, Marvin Spielmann, Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu, Vincent Sierro, Nico Maier, Joshua Neuenschwander, Cedric Zesiger, Gianluca Gaudino, Felix Mambimbi, Jordan Siebatcheu.
YOUNG BOYS (4-4-2): Guillaume Faivre; Silvan Hefti, Mohamed Ali Camara, Fabian Lustenberger, Jordan Lefort; Miralem Sulejmani, Michel Aebischer, Sandro Lauper, Christian Fassnacht; Jean-Pierre Nsame, Meschak Elia.
SUBS: Kenneth Taylor, Sean Klaiber, Kjell Scherpen, Lassina Traore, Perr Schuurs, Oussama Idrissi, Mohammed Kudus, Brian Brobbey, Zakaria Labyad, Dominik Kotarski, Jurgen Ekkelenkamp.
AJAX (4-3-3): Maarten Stekelenburg; Nicolas Tagliafico, Jurrien Timber, Lisandro Martinez, Devyne Rensch; Edson Alvarez, Davy Klaassen, Ryan Gravenberch; David Neres, Dusan Tadic, Antony.
This clash sees two sides face off after excellent results in the prior knockout round. The hosts defeated Ligue 1 leaders Lille 4-2 on aggregate, while the Swiss side dispatched of Bayer Leverkusen with a thrilling 6-3 aggregate victory. Domestically, Ajax hold a six-point lead at the top of the Eredivisie and Young Boys are leading the Swiss Super League by 19 points.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the first leg of the Europa League last-16 tie between Ajax and Young Boys.