Ajax through to Champions League playoffs; team relieved
Ajax advanced to the Champions League playoffs with a 3-2 victory against PAOK Saloniki in Amsterdam on Tuesday. After a 2-2 draw between the Amsterdam and Greek teams in Thessaloniki last week, the one goal victory was just enough for Ajax to go through to the next round, NOS reports.
Dusan Tadic scored two goals from three penalties for the Amsterdam team. Nicolas Tagliafico scored the third. Diego Bisewar, the only Dutch player in Greek service, scored the visiting club's two goals.
The team is delighted with the victory and their advancement to the playoffs, but there is still a lot of room for improvement, players and coach Erik ten Hag said to Nu.nl.
"It was a hectic match, in which many things also did not go well", Ten Hag said. "We got the right back after missing the penalty, but I am very dissatisfied with the rest of the defense. But at times we also managed very nice attacks and the resilience and team spirit were great to see."
"I'm a little relieved, but we have to play better" Tadic said. "We have to play more compactly, increase the pressure and look for space between lines."
Donny van Beek also thinks that Ajax needs to improve their game. "It was a very tough evening. We held out, but don't ask me how', the midfielder said. "They are strong in the counter and we had difficulty with that. We were sometimes not well placed in the organization. The result is good, but there is a lot that needs to be better. That is clear."