News

Ajax v Sporting CP Live Commentary, 2021/12/07

FT
4 - 2
AJX
SCP
S. Haller (8 pen)
Antony (42)
David Neres (58)
S. Berghuis (62)
Nuno Santos (22)
Bruno Tabata (78)
Johan Cruijff Arena

Commentary

That's all for today, goodbye! 
Ajax were already through as group winners, and go into the round of 16 on the back of six wins in the group stage. Sporting's 12-match winning run comes to an end with this defeat, but their name is also going into the draw for the knockout round. They'll both find out who they'll face on Monday. 
Ajax see out a perfect group stage with a 4-2 win over Sporting. They were 2-1 up at half-time thanks to Haller's early penalty and Antony's clever finish on either side of Santos' volley. After the break, goals from Neres and Berghuis in the space of four minutes put Ajax out of sight, but Tabata managed to pull another one back for Sporting with an emphatic finish into the roof of the net.
90' + 3' FULL-TIME: AJAX 4-2 SPORTING CP.
90' + 1' Into three minutes of added time here and Sporting are on the attack again. Esgaio makes another driving run down the right, but there's no one in the box and his cross is easily cleared by Pasveer. 
89' CLOSE! Antony finds himself in a lot of space on the left of the box, and he drills a powerful shot across goal. It takes the smallest of deflections off Neto on its way through which takes it just wide. 
87' Another nervy moment at the back for Sporting as Inacio's backpass is slightly short. Reis does well to get there just ahead of Haller and knock it back to Virginia, who puts his foot through it.
85' Nazinho plays a one-two with Paulinho on the left of the box before hitting a shot that is blocked by Klaassen. Ajax can't clear their lines though, and it comes back to Paulinho, but he lifts his shot high over the bar.
83' It's switched from right to left and back again by Ajax as they try to open up Sporting's defence. The visitors are dropping deeper and doing a good job of frustrating Ajax at the moment.
Dario Essugo
Daniel Bragança
Sporting CP
81' Final change for Sporting now, with Braganca going off for Essugo.
80' Ajax have come to life again as they try to restore their three-goal cushion. Tagliafico drives down the left and lifts a cross into the middle, but it's cut out ahead of Haller by Neto.
Ricardo Esgaio
Assist
Sporting CP
78' Esgaio knew exactly where Tabata was in the middle of the box and put a great ball into the box for him to finish off. 
Bruno Tabata
Goal
Sporting CP
78' TABATA SCORES! It's a great goal for Sporting! It's fizzed in by Esgaio on the right and Tabata is free in the middle of the box. He hits the shot on the half-volley first time, lifting it over Pasveer in the middle of the goal, and it clips the bottom of the crossbar on its way into the roof of the net. 4-2! 
J. Timber
N. Mazraoui
Ajax
77' Mazraoui isn't going to be able to carry on after picking up that injury earlier, so Timber is coming on to replace him.
76' It's a good run by Braganca off the back of Rensch, and the defender is scrambling to get back. He does well in the end, sliding in as the midfielder hits the shot and his block takes it over the bar. 
74' Mazraoui has gone down and initially, it looked like he was struggling with cramp, but it seems like he's tweaked his hamstring. The medical team have given him treatment, and he's going to try and carry on for now.
Pablo Sarabia
M. Ugarte
Sporting CP
73' And Ugarte goes off, with Sarabia on in his place. 
Flávio Nazinho
Gonçalo Esteves
Sporting CP
73' And there's a double change for Sporting as well. Esteves makes way for Nazinho.
K. Taylor
E. Álvarez
Ajax
72' Fourth change for Ajax now as Alvarez is taken off and replaced by Taylor.
70' Ajax are in control of this game and they look comfortable in possession despite Sporting's high press, but they're in no hurry to push upfield at the moment though.
68' OFF THE POST! Ajax are so close to a fifth goal! The corner is whipped into the box and it's flicked away by Inacio. It only goes as far as Martinez, who fires a powerful shot at goal. Virginia is stranded, but it smacks the inside of the post before flying wide.
66' Klaassen switches it out to Berghuis on the right before making himself available on the overlap. He clips a lovely cross over the top towards Antony, who fizzes a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but no one is there for Ajax. 
64' Sporting are trying to get themselves back into this, and the substitutes almost have an instant impact. Pote slides it through to Paulinho, but he can't get the power on his shot, and it's a comfortable save for Pasveer. 
D. Klaassen
Assist
Ajax
62' It was a good build-up from Ajax and Klaassen kept it moving along quickly as he picked out Berghuis.
S. Berghuis
Goal
Ajax
62' BERGHUIS SCORES! Ajax are running away with this one now! Antony lays it off to Klaassen, who turns before spreading it out to Berghuis on the right of the box. His low shot takes a couple of deflections on the way through which catch out Virginia at the near post and Ajax are 4-1 up! 
Paulinho
Nuno Santos
Sporting CP
60' For Sporting, Santos goes off, with Paulinho on in his place.
Pote
Tiago Tomás
Sporting CP
60' And Tomas is the other player making way, with Peto replacing him.
D. Klaassen
David Neres
Ajax
60' There's a double change for both sides now, starting with Ajax. That goal was Neres' last involvement as he's replaced by Klaassen.
D. Rensch
P. Schuurs
Ajax
59' And the assist is Schuurs' last action, with Rensch on for him.
P. Schuurs
Assist
Ajax
58' Schuurs got lucky as Santos slipped on the ball, but then he did well to pick out Neres' run to set up the goal.
David Neres
Goal
Ajax
58' NERES SCORES! Santos slips on the ball and Schuurs is there to set Ajax on the counter. He slides it through to Neres, who is in so much space on the left of the box. Virginia rushes off his line to close him down, but the forward slots his shot under him and into the back of the net. 3-1 Ajax! 
56' Neres is too strong for Esteves and brushes him aside before fizzing it into Haller. He pulls it back for Berghuis in the middle, but he doesn't see Inacio behind him and he's quickly in to win the ball back.
E. Álvarez
Yellow Card
Ajax
54' Alvarez puts an arm across Esgaio to stop his run, and he's shown a yellow card. 
52' Estevez is struggling to find a way past Tagliafico but manages to get a yard on him when he cuts inside. Gravenberch comes in to help and wins a free-kick, but he's lucky as it was actually his own team-mate that slid into him as they all went for the ball.
50' Tabata sneaks the ball past Alvarez, but he's the only one breaking for Sporting. He tries to hold it up but ends up losing out when he's crowded off the ball by three Ajax players. 
48' There's a nervy moment at the back for Reis as he can't pick out a forward pass. He turns towards his own goal, with Haller closing him down, and he just manages to get away from him.
46' Ajax get us back underway for the second half! 
N. Tagliafico
D. Blind
Ajax
46' There's a change at the break for Ajax. Blind isn't coming back out for the second half, with Tagliafico on for him.
Ajax are on course to finish the group stage with a 100 per cent winning record for the first time if things stay as they are, but Sporting aren't making things easy. Both sides created good chances, and it looks like there are a lot more goals in this game if it carries on this way.
Ajax take a 2-1 lead over Sporting into half-time. Just seven minutes in, the hosts were awarded a penalty after Braganca stepped on Haller's foot, and the forward slotted it home. Santos then pulled one back for Sporting with a lovely finish as he stretched to poke it past Pasveer. But, Ignacio gave the ball away inside his own box late on to gift it to Antony who slotted it into an empty net to restore the lead. 
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: AJAX 2-1 SPORTING CP.
P. Schuurs
Yellow Card
Ajax
44' Santos touches the ball in and Schuurs is very late as he slides in. He takes the forward's legs out from under him and is shown a yellow card. 
Antony
Goal
Ajax
42' ANTONY SCORES! What a horrible moment for Ignacio! His pass deflects off Berghuis and goes straight into Antony's feet. He keeps his cool to take it around two defenders and the goalkeeper before slotting the ball into the empty net. 2-1 Ajax! 
41' Antony holds the ball up down the left before touching it to Mazraoui, who gets up in support. He clips a good cross into the middle, which Haller heads on. Virginia holds onto it, but it wouldn't have counted anyway, as the forward fouled Reis.
39' GOOD SAVE! It's a brilliant run from Antony as he jinks away from three Sporting players before playing a one-two with Haller. He gets the return pass on the edge of the D, but his low shot is pushed away by Virginia.
37' Tabata is down holding his head after Alvarez accidentally catches him with his elbow in an aerial challenge. Santos comes across and pushes the midfielder, and the referee has to step in to calm things down. Tabata is okay to carry on without treatment. 
Bruno Tabata
Yellow Card
Sporting CP
36' Tabata slides in on Gravenberch and gets nowhere near the ball. He's protesting his innocence, but he's still shown a yellow card. 
34' Gravenberch gets a bit lucky as Inacio's loose touch falls to him, and he fizzes a low cross into Antony. He hits the shot first time, but two Sporting defenders rush out to him to smother the shot. 
32' Ajax are struggling to get out of their own half until Martinez plays a hopeful ball down the left. Neto misses it and it bounces through to Neres, who whips a cross in, but it's blocked by Braganca.
30' It's well worked by Sporting as they work it out to Santos on the left and he has a lot of support sprinting forward to join him. He tries to pull it back to Estevez, but Tabata sticks out a leg which ends up taking it away from his team-mate. 
28' There's a half-hearted shout for another penalty from Berghuis after Neres' cross is blocked by Neto. It did hit his arm, but it was tight to his body, and the referee waves the claim away.
26' Sporting are giving Ajax no time on the ball and are forcing the hosts into mistakes. Mazraoui breaks forward down the right but slices his cross straight into Neto on the edge of the box.
24' Ajax are pushing forward again, but they're sloppily giving the ball away. Ugarte spins away from Gravenberch after winning it back before he's tripped and wins a free-kick.
Bruno Tabata
Assist
Sporting CP
22' Tabata had a quick glance up to spot Santos' run before lifting a lovely cross into him.
Nuno Santos
Goal
Sporting CP
22' SANTOS EQUALISES! It's a lovely cross over the top from Tabata into the far post and Santos times his run perfectly to stay onside. He's in behind the defender and he stretches to volley it across goal, past a flat-footed Pasveer, and into the bottom corner. 1-1!
20' Tabata has dropped deep to get on the ball and he threads a great throughball forward for Tomas. He has Santos up in support, but goes for goal himself, and drags his shot well wide of the far post. 
18' Haller is only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo (2017-18) to score in every Champions League group stage game in a single campaign.
16' CLOSE! The space just opens up ahead of Berghuis just outside the box, so he decides to have a go himself. He's aiming for the far post, but his shot is always swerving away from the target. 
14' Estevez is played into a tight spot and he initially does well to touch it into Tomas. Ajax defenders are crowding around him though and he can't find a way through them.
12' Ajax are happy to keep possession in their own half at the moment. Sporting are pressing them high upfield, but can't get a touch on the ball as the hosts knock it around comfortably.
10' Sporting are trying to get themselves straight back on level terms, with Esteves catching Neres on the ball and pulling it back to Tabata from the byline. He takes the shot first time but slices it wide of the near post.
Daniel Bragança
Yellow Card
Sporting CP
8' Braganca is also shown a yellow card for the challenge on Haller.
S. Haller
Penalty Goal
Ajax
8' HALLER SCORES! He only takes a short run-up to the spot, and he pauses for a second before striking it. Virginia still dived the right way, but couldn't get near it as it nestled into the bottom corner. 1-0 Ajax! 
7' PENALTY TO AJAX! Neto couldn't clear his lines and Haller touched it on before Braganca stepped on his foot. He was going for the ball, but he was late with the challenge and after looking at the monitor, the referee points to the spot. 
6' Martinez spots Haller's run off the back of Inacio and plays a good ball over the top of Sporting's defence. It was the right idea, but there was just too much on it and Virginia comes out to collect it. 
4' Tabata is caught on the ball deep in his own half by Alvarez and he tries to play an early cross into the box. None of his team-mates were ready for it though and it harmlessly bounces out on the far side. 
2' Blind links up well with Neres down the left, with the left-back playing a one-two before trying to slide in Berghuis. Neto reads it well though and clears the danger for Sporting. 
1' Tomas gets the game underway for Sporting! 
The teams are out on the pitch now, with kick-off just moments away!
Ajax are looking to win all six of their group games, something that they've never managed in the Champions League. Indeed, they have also never won six straight matches in the European Cup/Champions League in their history.
Ruben Amorim is using the opportunity to rest some of his players as he makes seven changes from the win over Benfica. Virginia starts in goal, with Esteves, Braganca, Esgaio, Tabata, Santos and Tomas also coming in. Adan, Matheus, Sarabia, Paulinho, Porro and Pote all start on the bench.
Erik ten Hag makes just three changes to the side that beat Willem II last time out. Schuurs, Berghuis and Neres are all brought in, with Timber, Klaassen and Tadic dropping to the bench.
SPORTING SUBS: Pedro Porro, Flavio Jacinto Dos Nazinho, Pote, Jose Martinez, Dario Essugo, Pablo Sarabia, Antonin Adan, Andre Paulo, Matheus, Paulinho.
SPORTING CP STARTING XI (3-4-2-1): Joao Virginia; Luis Neto, Goncalo Bernardo Inacio, Matheus Reis; Goncalo Esteves, Manuel Ugarte, Daniel Braganca, Ricardo Esgaio; Bruno Tabata, Nuno Santos; Tiago Tomas.
AJAX SUBS: Victor Jensen, Zakaria Labyad, Mohammed Daramy, Andre Onana, Devyne Rensch, Danilo, Dusan Tadic, Davy Klaassen, Jurrien Timber, Nicolas Tagliafico, Kenneth Taylor, Jay Gorter.
AJAX STARTING XI (4-2-3-1): Remko Pasveer; Noussair Mazraoui, Perr Schuurs, Lisandro Martinez, Daley Blind; Edson Alvarez, Ryan Gravenberch; Antony, Steven Berghuis. David Neres; Sebastian Haller. 
Everything in Group C is already sorted out with one match left to play, and neither of these sides need to worry about anything. Ajax are through to the last 16 as group winners having won all of their games in the competition this season, including a 3-1 win over Sporting in the reverse fixture. Sporting are through as group runners-up and have the chance to ruin Ajax's perfect group record after already knocking out Borussia Dortmund last time out in the Champions League. 
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Champions League Group C meeting between Ajax and Sporting CP at the Johan Cruijff Arena!