Ajax scored twice in each half to beat Dinamo Zagreb 4-0
AMSTERDAM (AP) Ajax scored twice in each half to beat Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 on Wednesday and stay second behind runaway leader Real Madrid in Group D of the Champions League.
Gregory van der Wiel drilled an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from a difficult angle in the 20th minute for a 1-0 lead after a clever backheel from Christian Eriksen.
Miralem Sulejmani, back in the Ajax lineup after a brief injury layoff, doubled the lead five minutes later after finishing off a move started by Siem de Jong.
De Jong made it 3-0 in the 65th with a 10-meter shot before substitute Nicolas Lodeiro scored the fourth in injury time.
“I really liked the way we played tonight,” Van der Wiel said. “It’s always nice if you can score a goal.”
Ajax is second with seven points, three ahead of Lyon. The Dutch side is assured of earning at least a Europa League berth. Real Madrid leads Group D with 12 points after winning all four of its games. Dinamo could have pulled one back a minute into the second half when Luis Ibanez fired a long-range drive, which Kenneth Vermeer saved but spilled back into play before captain Jan Vertongen make a clearance.
De Jong had a chance to put the scoreline beyond Dinamo’s reach after perfectly controlling Toby Alderweireld’s pass in the area but goalkeeper Ivan Kelava made a point-blank save.
“The scoreline is a nice present but I think what’s important is we played as a team,” said Ajax coach Frank de Boer.
Earlier on, some miscommunication between Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen almost led to a Dinamo goal in the 16th but the Ajax captain recovered to clear the ball away from danger.
After missing a couple of chances in the opening minutes, Ajax had Van De Wiel to thank after his ferocious shot gave Kelava no chance.
The second goal was just as eye-catching. Eyong Enoh powered past the Dinamo midfield before the Cameroon midfielder picked out De Jong, who laid the ball into Sulejmani’s path. The Serbian striker dribbled past a badly-positioned Kelava before prodding the ball into an open net.
Van der Wiel started the move that led to Ajax’s third. From the right flank, the Netherlands international teased past two Dinamo defenders before flighting a cross toward goal. Eriksen intervened with another flick leaving De Jong with a simple task of beating Kelava from close range.
Substitutes Lodeiro and Lorenzo Ebecilio combined to score the fourth, wrapping up a win that gives Ajax hope of finishing second in the group.
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