Ajax holds Benfica to 1-1 draw in Champions League

Ajax holds Benfica to 1-1 draw in Champions League
Dusan Tadic salvages Champions League draw for Ajax at Benfica as Dutch side close on last 16 place
A 1-1 draw against Benfica of Lisbon put Amsterdam football club Ajax a step closer to reaching the knock-out stage of this year’s Champions League competition on Wednesday evening.

Benfica scored a first half goal after a goalkeeping gaffe but Ajax keeper Andre Onana redeemed himself towards the end of the second half, after Dusan Tadic’s equaliser, when he pulled off a reflex save with his foot.

Benfica 1-1 AjaxAjax began the day four points above Benfica and although they did not register the win that would have booked their round of 16 place, they retained that cushion over their hosts. Jonas did give Benfica a first-half lead but just past the hour Dušan Tadić levelled as Ajax recovered well.

Highlights: United fell Juventus, Madrid and City in goals

Benfica remain four points behind Ajax in group E, with six points still on the table. Bayern Munich are now two points clear of Ajax at the top.

If Ajax qualify for the next stage, it will be the first time the Amsterdammers have made it through to the round of 16 in 13 years.

A stunning Manchester United comeback turned the tables on Juventus as Manchester City and Real Madrid won big.

‘First we have a game against AEK in Athens, so that’s the game we have to focus on – then we’ll think about Bayern,’ Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt told the Uefa website after the match. ‘Hopefully we can win in Athens and then fight for first place.’

Ajax Amsterdam goalkeeper Andre Onana went from villain to hero as the Dutch side drew 1-1 at Benfica on Wednesday, gifting the hosts the lead before making a brilliant save with the last kick of the game to rescue a point.

Robert Lewandowski scored in each half, his first from the penalty spot, to lift the Germans above Ajax, who were held 1-1 by Benfica in Lisbon.

Jonas put Benfica ahead after a double mistake by the 22-year-old Cameroon keeper but Dusan Tadic levelled for the visitors in the second half of the Group E game.

Bayern Munich moved top of Champions League Group E after a 2-0 home win against AEK Athens on Wednesday.

The draw left Ajax on the brink of reaching the round of 16 for the first time since the 2005/06 season. The Dutch side are second with eight points from four games, four ahead of third-placed Benfica, and also have the better head-to-head record.

There was an early scare when Ajax defender Matthijs de Light clattered into Jonas and it appeared that the Benfica forward might have suffered a head injury, but he was allowed to continue playing.

Under huge pressure after losing their last three games in all competitions, Benfica were gifted the lead in the 29th minute.

Onana dallied as he controlled a pass back, nearly got caught as he tried to turn past an opponent on his goal line and was forced to toe-poke the ball into touch.

From the resulting throw-in, Onana came out and completely missed the ball which fell to Jonas who chested it down and found a gap between two defenders on the goal line.

After nearly equalising from a ferocious Lasse Schone free kick in first-half stoppage time, Ajax finally levelled in the 61st minute.

Hakim Ziyech looped a tantalising ball over the Benfica defence and Tadic managed to squeeze between two defenders to get there first and poke the ball over the line.

Onana came to the rescue in stoppage time, blocking a shot from Rafa Silva and then, from the corner, making a point-blank save with his leg from Gabriel when the midfielder seemed certain to score. 

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