Amsterdam, Johan Cruijff Arena
A crucial match in a full Amsterdam between 2 equally strong teams. Both teams starting with 4-3-3. Relief that star player Ziyech was fit to play for the Dutch side. Ajax with support of the home fans tried to use their advantage, but it was Benfica with the better start. But as usually, the Portuguese wasted their chances. No surprise; center striker Seferovic is not a good finisher. But so was Dolberg on the other side after 22 minutes, Vlachodimos saved well. Dolberg recently back from long injury, is not yet the player from 2 years ago. Benfica came to get points and attacked. It was a good tactic as their off side traps were working. With the passing of the minutes chances became rare. Ajax couldn’t create chances and tried their luck with shots. Benfica lured on the counter but Seferovis is a good target man, but not a striker for the counter and Benfica was too few on the counters to do harm.Ajax on the other hand nearly scored from a counter, but excellent Vlachodimos saved the shot from attacking midfielder Van de Beek.
Just as a draw seemed certain, in the last seconds of the game substitute Neres broke through the Benfica defense and the ball ended up with Moroccon international Mazraoui who tried his luck from 25 meters and scored just as he did against Bayern Munchen. Mazraoui is just gold worth. This goal brought 3 points even when Benfica would have deserved a point. But Ajax wanted the win more and their desire got rewarded. Now Ajax have 7 points, just like Bayern Munchen. Going to the next round of the Champions League is now very close. Benfica now must win against Ajax at home to stay in the Champions League. Bayerns win at AEK means that Benfica at least can play in the Europa League.