Benfica shock Ajax in Champions League

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Benfica shock Ajax in Champions League

Benfica shocked Ajax with a late Darwin Nunez strike to eliminate the Dutch champions from Champions League at Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam.

A header in the 77th minute was enough for the Portuguese side to secure a 3-2 win on aggregate after a 2-2 draw in the previous meeting.

The hosts dominated the proceedings from the get go and had the better of possession and shots on goal as Benfica looked to take the game deep without conceding. Their constant pressure resulted in Sebastien Haller finding the back of the net but Dusan Tadic was offside during the build up play. The game went into half-time locked in 0-0 as no team created clear goal scoring opportunities.

Ajax continued to look for the all important goal in the second half, hammering 16 shots towards but failed to find a way through. Their worst fears were realized when Benfica scored a crucial first when Nunez out-jumped defender Jurrien Timber and headed past an onrushing Andre Onana to give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish.

The goal was Nunez’s 26th of the season across all competitions and came on Benfica’s only shot on target in the match.

Benfica’s centre-back pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Nicolas Otamendi continued to deny a much favored Ajax attack despite them dominating possession and constantly attacking the visitors’ goal.

The victory takes Benfica into the last-8 for the fifth time in club history. They join Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals.

The remaining quarterfinal spots will be decided when Lille host Chelsea trailing 2-0 and Villarreal face Juventus in Turin with the tie level at 1-1.

 

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