‘It was a great evening for Ajax and for the fans,’ coach Erik ten Hag told reporters after the game. ‘We played attractive football and we beat a strong opponent.’
‘However, I think we can do better,’ the trainer of last year’s semi-finalists said. ‘We have a lot of players who like to drive forward and there are times when you have put on the brake and keep possession longer.’
Uefa reporter Derek Brookman said after the game that there had been ‘slight trepidation’as to whether Ajax would be ready for the Champions League after losing three key players in this summer’s transfer season.
‘But the answer is a resounding yes’,’ he said. ‘Against a dogged and quick-to-counter Lille side they produced some sparkling combination football, creating hatfuls of chances and generally kept the tempo too high for the visitors to handle. An excellent start to their Group H campaign.’
Meanwhile, police say all but eight of the 300 Lille fans arrested prior to the game have been realised. They were mainly picked up for walking on the metro tracks and lighting fireworks, leading to metro services being cancelled.
AJAX v LILLE Tuesday 17thSeptember 2000hrs Football – Europe – Champions League Pick Ajax AH-1 Bookmaker Bet Victor Odds: 1.75 (odds taken 08:02 GMT, 17 September )
After a lengthy qualification process, the group stages of the Champions League starts on Tuesday night and our next preview features the second clash in Group H between Ajax and Lille as the betting tips continue at the Johan Cruijff Arena.
Ajax vs Lille: kick off, live stream, preview, prediction and watch online
Last years losing semi-finalists of the Champions League, Ajax, will no doubt be hoping they can emulate last campaign by getting to the final of this competition this time around, but theyll need to produce a solid campaign in Group H first, starting with tonights clash with Frencjh Ligue 1 side, Lille.
Ajax beats Lille 3-0 to open Champions League campaign
Although they finished all square with Tottenham 3-3 on aggregate, it was Spurs that went through to the Champions League final by virtue of the away goals rule, thanks to their 3 goals in a 3-2 win away in Amsterdam in the 2nd leg, to break Ajaxs hearts.
Ajax vs Lille live streaming: Watch Online & Confirmed Line-Ups
Nevertheless, it was a great run by Ajax in last years competition as they claimed a few prize scalps along the way with wins over Real Madrid and Juventus in the knockout rounds to reach the semi-finals.
Ajax come into this encounter having registered back-to-back home leg wins over PAOK and APOEL in the 3rd qualifying round and play-offs respectively, so theyll be in confident mood that they can grab the points against Lille on Tuesday night.
Its been a mixed start to the new French Ligue 1 season for Tuesday nights visitors, Lille, as theyve won 3 but lost 2 of their first 5 league matches of the new domestic top flight season, having recorded wins over Nantes, Saint-Etienne and Angers respectively.
However, Lille have also tasted defeat against Amiens and Reims, and its worth noting that the 3 wins that Lille have accumulated so far this season have all been achieved on home turf at their Stade Pierre-Mauroy, while the 2 defeats have both been away from home.
This perhaps provides us with an early indication as to how Lilles Champions League group campaign could unfold, and having won just 2 of their last 10 Champions League ties overall, this could be an uncomfortable period for Lille who face Ajax tonight, but then have the likes of Chelsea and Valencia to follow.
Switch to results away from home in this competition and youll find that Lille have lost 4 of their last 6 matches on their travels with defeats at Copenhagen, Valencia, Bayern Munich and Porto, and just the 2 wins during the sequence at lesser lights, BATE and Grashopper.
Ajax enjoyed an excellent run in last seasons competition and they should open their account with a win over the French side in Amsterdam.A