Benfica eliminated Ajax and got into the quarterfinals of the Champions League

The Portuguese Benfica got their ticket for the quarterfinals of the Champions League 2021-2022, after beating a Dutch Ajax 0-1 this Tuesday at the Johan Cruyff in Amsterdam, severely punished for the only shot between the three sticks of the ‘Eagles’.

The match was a ‘ajacied’ monologue that did not have the expected ending for the locals, who put everything into it and tried from start to finish. However, the visitors knew how to withstand their attacks, which lacked a little more offensive skill, and found a prize as excessive as it was valuable in a header from the Uruguayan Darwin Núñez in the final stretch to decide the pass for the ‘incarnate’ team, ten years later again in the quarterfinals.

Ajax was again penalized by vertigo in an important event in their fiefdom, where they have not won a Champions League knockout game since 1996and was left without being among the top eight in the competition.

After Da Luz 2-2, a game with goals was expected in Amsterdam, but it did not happen, partly due to the bad night of the two best pieces of Erik ten Hag’s men. Neither Sebastian Haller, who had 11 goals in the Champions League, nor Antony, were even able to put a Vachlodimos to the test who, despite the continuous stress, did not have to make any worthwhile interventions either.

The meeting only had one direction from the initial whistle. The Eredivisie champion attacked with insistence and pressed relentlessly to neutralize a Benfica that he barely had the ball and that he was only capable of threatening set pieces.

Antony, with a header that went wide and a shot that was easily stopped by the Greek goalkeeper, a shot from Berghuis that went high and a header from Timber that had the same fate were the best options for a local team that lacked better definition in the final meters.

After the break, nothing changed in the match. Nelson Verissimo tweaked his approach in the locker room, mainly defensively because he did not advance his lines, and had less trouble than he had in the first 45 minutes, while Vertonghen warned that from above and from set pieces they could be the best visiting options.

Without finding the striker Haller, another header from Antony and a shot from Gravenberch that ran into a defender on his way to goal were the arguments to try to crack the iron defense of his rival.

As the match entered its final stretch, Darwin Núñez connected a lateral free kick with his head, anticipating Onana and his marker to silence the Johan Cruyff. The 0-1 brought precipitation in an Ajax, unable to have the courage to find the path of the goal in the 20 minutes available.

Atlético de Madrid qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League after beating Manchester United 1-0 in the second leg of the continental competition.

A headed goal by Renan Lodi (41) gave Atlético the passport to the next round, who in the first leg in Madrid had not gone beyond a 1-1 draw with United.

The rojiblancos are once again among the top eight on the continent two seasons after achieving it for the last time in 2020.

Without the double value of away goals, the two teams took to the pitch at Old Trafford to decide the one-game tie.

*With information from Europa Press and AFP.