Ajax downs Barcelona 2-1
Two first-half goals was enough to net Ajax three points against an injury-hobbled FC Barcelona at the Amsterdam Arena. Ajax tightened up defensively and hung on to the 2-1 victory after the referee sent off Ajax defender Joël Veltman in the 48th minute.
The crowd's excitement was more muted than usual as a fan was seriously injured after falling from the stands during the 39th minute. The fan fell onto the concrete rim in between the base of the seating and the field of play. He was transported by ambulance to an area hospital.
Ajax kept control of the match throughout the first half. They took the lead when a swift low cross from from Lasse Schöne was sent into the back of the net by Thulani Serero after almost 20 minutes of play. The Dutch side almost extended their lead five minutes later as Nicolai Boilesen found Schöne in the penalty area, but Schöne sent the ball just over the crossbar.
It was 15 minutes further in to the match when Davy Klaassen took a shot from well outside the box. The ball was pushed away by Barcelona keeper Pinto, but Ajax striker Danny Hoesen picked up the rebound and sent it past the keeper.
Three minutes after the restart, Barça's Neymar made it through the Ajax defense when he was taken down hard by Veltman. The referee went straight to his pocket, pulled out the red card, and awarded a penalty. Xavi sent the ball straight into the net to cut the Ajax lead in half.
Barça pushed and pushed with the man advantage, but Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen kept the the Catalonians from tying up the match. Ajax can advance to the next round with a win in Milan next month.