Ajax takes control of Group H with 2-0 win at Lille
LILLE, France (AP) — Two moments of brilliance were all that Ajax needed to secure a 2-0 win at Lille and take control of its Champions League group on Wednesday. Taking on a robust French side that wasted two big chances, Ajax put on a clinical display of efficiency. Hakim Ziyech scored the opener at the conclusion of a beautiful team move, then delivered an assist for Quincy Promes, who added his name to the scoresheet with a subtle touch.
First-place Ajax is two points above Valencia and Chelsea, who drew 2-2 in Group H’s other game. A semifinalist last season, Ajax took the lead just two minutes into the game at Pierre Mauroy stadium.
Suddenly accelerating the pace, the visitors set up an impressive series of slick passes as Zakaria Labyad found Dusan Tadic on the edge of the area. With his back to the goal, the Ajax striker passed the ball sideways for Ziyech, who slotted home with a left-footed shot past Mike Maignan.
Lille quickly recovered from the setback by putting on a combative display during a first-half marred by many fouls and featuring three yellow cards. The French hosts were dangerous on the counter and could have leveled in the 30th minute but Jonathan Bamba missed a golden opportunity with a fluffed shot over the bar after he was set up near the penalty spot.
Lille had another great chance in the 49th after Victor Osimhen won the ball in the Ajax box and cut it back for Jonathan Ikone, who got his shot all wrong and missed the target. Lille was made to pay for its profligacy near the hour mark as Promes put the game to bed with a superb touch at the conclusion of a trademark Ajax move. From the edge of the box, Ziyech delivered a precise and curled cross at the far post and Promes latched on to the ball, using the outside of his foot to put it beyond the reach of Maignan.
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