Despite its very clear dominance, Ajax was surprised by Benfica (0-1) this Tuesday during the round of the 16th leg of the Champions League. A huge raid on the Portuguese team, which manages to find the European TOP 8 for the first time in six years.
Darwin qualified Benfica Amsterdam.
The heist of the century, or not far. Largely dominated and close to break for over an hour, Benfica managed to surprise Ajax (0-1) on Tuesday during the round of the 16th leg of the Champions League.
With the draw in the first leg (2-2), the Portuguese club achieved a huge success by taking part in the TOP 8 of Europe’s most prestigious competitions for the first time in six years.
Ajax way above
In a wonderful atmosphere in the Johan Cruijff Arena, Ajax immediately put enormous pressure on Benfica. In their usual style, the Dutch club started their game by spreading out as much as possible thanks to the incessant doubling of full-backs that Tadic and Antony constantly offered solutions. If they held out, despite the dangerous crosses in the area, the Eagles retreated irreparably and barely saw the ball.
Over the minutes, the Batavian domination was stifling the Portuguese formation, being exceeded in all compartments of the game. The Lancers recaptured all the balls very high in the opponent’s camp and added Vlachodimos, decisive for Antony and Gravenberch. Berghuis, he missed clarity on the penalty spot to light the fuse in a preferred position shortly before half time.
Darwin buries Ajax
The second period started on the same bases again: Ajax pushed hard, Benfica held out. If Vertonghen made his former supporters wince, Antony could be found not far from the skylight on his head outstretched. Despite its superiority, the Orange squad found it increasingly difficult to string together series in the last 30 meters and left hope for the Lusitano players, who were sharper in the duels.
And what had to happen, happened. On a free kick from Grimaldo, Darwin won his battle with Timber to put a scoreless header into the back of the net (0-1.77th). A goal out of the blue for Benfica, more than an hour at the bottom of the hole, but who executed the perfect hold-up to take out an opponent superior to him on the double showdown. But experience made all the difference to win this round and find the European TOP 8 six years later.
The score of the match: 6/10
A match with a great atmosphere and great intensity. The best team did not pass tonight, because Ajax dominated this meeting. But with experience and guts, Benfica managed to beat the Johan Cruijff Arena. A goal from a dead game moment, at the only shot on target, at the worst moment, which punished the ineffectiveness of the Dutch players.
The target :
– On a right free kick, Grimaldo centers in the 5.5 meter zone of Onana. Darwin won for Timber and put in an unstoppable header (0-1, 77th).
COMMENTS from the players
Maxifoot has assigned a score (out of 10) of comments to each player.
Man of the match: Darwin Nez (7/10)
Benfica’s best attacking player tonight. The only danger for the Portuguese club in the first period, with some interesting strikes from the left, the Uruguayan striker qualified his side by heading in a Grimaldo free kick. A single chance was enough to plunge an entire stadium into terror. Replace the 80th minute with Diogo Gonalves (not not)†
Ajax Amsterdam †
Andr Onana (4): one shot on target, one goal. The Cameroon goalkeeper’s last European with Ajax turned into a nightmare with a very mediocre performance in front of Darwin. A real disappointment for him.
Noussair Mazraoui (6.5): Announced close to FC Barcelona, the Moroccan right-back showed the full extent of his talent in this match. He tirelessly offered many solutions behind Antony’s back and put enormous pressure on the Portuguese defense with his crosses. After the hour, however, he was much less energetic and lowered his foot.
Jurrin Timber (5): When used infrequently, the young central defender was sometimes ousted by the mighty Darwin. It is also he who loses his duel with the Uruguayan striker on the only realization of the match. A youthful mistake. Replace the 96th minute with Mohammed Kudus (not not)†
Lisandro Martnez (7): a fine performance for the Argentine central defender, who had no trouble extinguishing the Benfica attackers. Serenely with the ball, like his hook that shook the stadium before halftime, he was well into recovery to break through the Portuguese front line.
Daley Blind (6.5): good match for the Dutch left wing. Carried forward, he was very dangerous on all his deployments to Tadic or Haller. Eccentric and recoiling playmaker, he offered good balls that were not exploited by his attacking partners.
Ryan Gravenberg (6.5): a good match for the Dutch midfielder, who turned out to be rock hard with the ball at his feet. His ability to dribble players thanks to his physique has thrown Benfica back massively. He was not ashamed of his performance, especially since he got the best chance for his team on a shot from Vlachodimos.
E. lvarez (6): won 13 games out of 18, 4 interceptions. The Mexican was playing a big game until this largely avoidable offense led to Ajax’s loss. One mistake after another from Timber and his team coming home. Too bad… Replaced the 81st minute with Bryan Brobbey (not)†
Steven Berghuis (5.5): Known for his always judicious placement, the attacking midfielder caused major problems between the lines. However, he was much too clumsy in the last move and systematically missed the target. Unusual. Replace the 81st minute with Davy Klaassen (not)†
Antony (6.5): The Brazilian winger has been courted by Europe’s biggest clubs and has shown why he could be one of the big attractions next summer. Unstoppable for an hour, he was the source of many opportunities, forcing Vlachodimos to deflect one of his shots low to the ground. In the second half he was close to a goal with a header and played his game.
Sbastien Haller (4): the second top scorer in the current edition of the C1 has been completely brushed aside. In the duels eaten by Otamendi and Vertonghen, he was very clumsy in his ball shots in the area. A real disappointment.
Dusan Tadic (4): The captain of the Dutch club has continued to pound the Portuguese defense with 14 attempts at crosses. The concern is that he was insanely clumsy with 31 lost balls. A crippling lack of precision at this level.
BENFICA LISBON †
Odisseas Vlachodimos (6): fixed. In the first period, the Greek goalkeeper was alert to attacks by Antony and Gravenberch.
Gilberto Junior (6): The Brazilian right side suffered from the numerous overflows of Blind and Tadic in his lane. However, he never let go of taking over physically in the first period. Replace the 91st minute with Valentino Lazaro (not not)†
Nicols Otamendi (7): the captain of Benfica kept his rank. The Argentine central defender spoke of his experience by scraping many seconds when coming into contact with his opponents. In fact, he proved to be very comfortable in the air game, both defensively and offensively.
Jan Vertonghen (7): the Belgian central defender also answered present. The Red Devil was almost surprising Ajax from Haller spaces on the return from the dressing room.
lex Grimaldo (6): facing the turning Antony, the Spanish left side is in pain. But like his other partners, he never gave up and eventually gave the decisive pass to Darwin’s goal.
Rafael (4): we haven’t seen enough of the Portuguese winger. Apart from a good job at the start of the second half, he was far too neutral to hope to disrupt the Dutch defence.
Julian Weigl (5): average. The German midfielder had a complicated first period with numerous ball losses in sensitive areas. He played way too low tonight.
Adel Taarabt (3): the Moroccan environment has never found its rhythm. Overwhelmed by the Portuguese waves, he lost almost all of his duels without ever succeeding in a single forward pass. Replace the 46th minute with Souliho Mountain (6), who made the difference thanks to his strength in midfield. He greatly relieved his defenders.
Everton (3): The Brazilian winger has been through hell. Very little asked, he never offered solutions to his partners to put himself in the spotlight. He walked through the game like a ghost. Replace the 72nd minute with Roman Yaremchuk (not)†
Gonalo Ramos (4): a very difficult match for the Portuguese, who barely touched the ball tonight. He was frustrated by making mistakes that were often supported. However, he can boast of the decisive free kick. Replace the 91st minute with Paulo Bernardo (not not)†
D. Nose (7): read comment above.
+ Find the results and the Champions League ranking on Maxifoot
And for you, who were the best and worst players of the match? Comment below in the “comments” box!
AJAX AMSTERDAM 0-1 BENFICA LISBON (interim: 0-0) – CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – 1/8th final
Stadium: Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam – Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande, Spain
goals :- D. Nez (77th) for BENFICA LISBON
Ajax Amsterdam †
BENFICA LISBON †
Otamendi has now replied
Darwin scored the winning goal for Benfica (0-1, 77th)
Match rat for Haller
Darwin, UEFA man of the match