Ajax blanks Lille to open Champions League campaign – TSN

Ajax blanks Lille to open Champions League campaign - TSN
Ajax brush aside Lille in Champions League opener
Two of Ajax’s summer signings scored as last season’s semifinalist opened its Champions League campaign by beating Lille 3-0 in Group H on Tuesday.

Netherlands international Quincy Promes opened the scoring in the 18th minute, Mexican midfielder Edson Alvarez doubled the lead five minutes after the break and defender Nicolas Tagliafico added the third in the 62nd as Ajax cruised to victory.

AMSTERDAM — Dutch police said on Tuesday they had detained around 100 supporters of French soccer club Lille OSC in Amsterdam’s city center.

Nicolas Tagliafico with a goal, assist for Ajax in Champions League

Ajax sold the two biggest stars of last season’s run to the semifinals, Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona and Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus, and was missing two more of last season’s standouts through injury — attacking midfielder Donny van de Beek and right back Noussair Mazraoui.

In a statement, Amsterdam police said the supporters were suspected of “disturbing public order, lighting off fireworks and violence.”

Ajax beats Lille 3-0 to open Champions League campaign

Promes capitalized on shaky defending to head home a cross by Tagliafico, Alvarez rounded off a long spell of Ajax possession by slamming a powerful shot past Mike Maignan in the Lille goal and Tagliafico headed a corner powerfully into the goal to seal the victory.

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Lille at times looked dangerous, with speedy forwards Jonathan Ikone and Victor Osimhen a threat on the break, but both missed good chances and Jonathan Bamba blasted wildly over the bar after another swift counterattack.

Lille midfielder Benjamin André: We did our best.

Sergino Dest, the 18-year-old United States international who recently extended his contract with Ajax, made his Champions League group stage debut and was rarely troubled on the right side of defense.

Despite coming within minutes of reaching the final last season, Ajax had to win two preliminary rounds to get back into the group stage of Europe’s top club competition, beating PAOK Thessaloniki and APOEL Nicosia to earn a berth in Group H alongside Chelsea, Valencia and Lille.

Eight Lille fans in custody after Ajax unrest

Amsterdam police detained more than 300 Lille fans for public order offenses at a metro station near the Johan Crujff Stadium before the match started.

Criticism was echoed by midfielder Hakim Ziyech, who told Dutch TV there was too much showing off at times from the youthful outfit, seeking to emulate their heroics of last season when they went from the early preliminary rounds right through to the semifinals.

Speaking to RMC, 28-year-old Lille midfielder Benjamin André reflected on the club’s 3-0 collapse against Ajax in the 1st round of the Champions’ League group stage.

“We knew that it was going to be very tough. I think that we suffered a bit too much. We saw that, when we were able to play our way, we could put them in difficulty. Aside from that, we were not able to put away the chances that we had. They, they were very dangerous. We did our maximum. We have regrets. We could’ve scored a goal, I think. If we had been a little more pragmatic in front of goal, the score would have been different. We did not make them think enough sadly.”