Ajax has resumed itself in Europe. Through four goals of Champions League debutant Sébastien Haller, the tricky away competition at Sporting Portugal ended up being a ‘cinch’ for the Amsterdammers. It was 1-5 in Lisbon.
Ajax had two sporty bloodletting before the game. Not only Davy Klaassen dropped off, but first goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg had to leave last minute absentia. As a result, Steven Berghuis played at ten and Remko Pasveer (38) had to defend the goal. The formerly criticized Haller also got a spot at the point of the attack by trainer Erik ten Hag.
Haller gave Ajax a dream start in Portugal. The elusive Antony shot the pole after just a minute of play, after which the rebound was for the Frenchman. The same scenario restarted after nine minutes of play. Left-back Rúben Vinagre looked completely on Antony, the Brazilian served Haller again and suddenly it stood 0-2, a perfect prelude to another magical European evening for Ajax.
Ajax really had nothing to fear from Sporting, which was completely lost, but was helped in the saddle by Pasveer. The veteran blundered at João Fernandes‘s hookup target. He came out too early and then let the ball slip through his hands.
Steven Mountain House! 🔥 The newbie makes his first ever in the Champions League after a nice attack and increases the margin again to two 🙌 #ZiggoSport #UCL #SCPAJA pic.twitter.com/LkyIUNqtCW
— Ziggo Sports Football (@ZS_Voetbal) September 15, 2021
Despite a flawless opening phase it seemed to be a hot night for Ajax, were it not that Berghuis, another Champions League debutant for Ajax, quickly brought the margin back to two. The front work belonged to Antony and Ryan Gravenberch’s assist.
Haller also demolished Sporting in the second halfagain again Ajax seemed to be cutting its fingers when Sporting returned to the competition early in the second half. Fernandes headlined the 2-3 behind Remko Pasveer, but was whistled back due to offside. Less than two minutes later, the outlaw Haller completed his hat trick.
The Frenchman couldn‘t be broken at all when he was also fourth (!) poked in, following in Marco van Basten’s footsteps. San Marco also made four goals in his Champions League debut.
Due to the double stroke of Haller after half time, the match was finally decided by Ajax, which did not play big but was extremely effective after an hour. Football, Ten Hag will see a lot more points for improvement. The Tukker awarded Perr Schuurs, David Neres and Devyne Rensch minutes in Lisbon. And Kenneth Taylor got to make his Champions League debut.
Ajax will be playing at home against SC Cambuur in the Eredivisie next Saturday. The next Champions League meeting is scheduled for September 28th. Then Besiktas will be the opponent in the Johan Cruijff Arena.