Ajax puts Manchester City on brink of early exit in Champions League
Amsterdam, Netherlands (4E Sports) – Dutch champion Ajax put Premier League titlist Manchester City on the brink of a second straight group-stage exit with a 3-1 victory Wednesday in a Champions League showdown at Amsterdam Arena.
With the victory, Ajax moved to third place in Group D while the Premier League champions dropped to last place with just one point to show.
In the other Group D game, Real Madrid suffered its first loss after a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund, which grabbed the top spot in Group D with the victory while its victim dropped to second with six points.
Manchester City now has to win all three remaining games — starting with the return fixture against Ajax on November 7 to strengthen its chances of making it to the next phase.
“It is very difficult to qualify now. There is one team with seven points and one with six and one with three. It would be a miracle. It will not be difficult to pick players up mentally,” said City manager Roberto Mancini.
“When you play football you know you can play a bad game like tonight, but the season is long and you play a lot of games,” added Mancini, whose wards got on the board first with a goal from Samir Nasri in the 22nd minute.
Ajax, however, tied the count just before halftime with a goal from Siem de Jong. The Dutch squad took the lead in the 57th minute behind Niklas Moisander’s header and Christian Eriksen made it a two-goal lead with a score in the 68th minute.
“I know what we are capable of. We played against a top team. When you are champions of England, you are a top team. Today we showed what we want to do. It is to our credit that we beat a top English side. We played dominant football and they did not have an answer,” Ajax coach Frank De Boer said.
Meanwhile, Arsenal completed a disappointing night for English clubs as it lost to FC Schalke 04, 2-0. The loss was the Gunners’ first UEFA Champions League defeat in 17 home games.