Ajax shock Barca to stay in hunt

Ajax produced a superb win over Barcelona to keep alive their hopes of qualifying from Champions League Group H.

The hosts took a shock 2-0 half-time lead at the Amsterdam Arena as both Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen netted their first European goals.

Xavi scored a penalty after Joel Veltman was sent off but Ajax withstood fierce pressure in the remainder of the second half.

With AC Milan beating Celtic in the other game in the group, the result was vital for Ajax and they now face the Italians in their final game with the winners reaching the knockout stages.

Meanwhile, Schalke slipped up in their bid to move one step closer to qualification from Group E after they were held to a goalless draw away to Steaua Bucharest.

The result, and Basle’s 1-0 win over group leaders Chelsea, means the German side slipped to third and have it all to do in their final pool game which is a winner-takes-all tie against the Swiss side on December 11.

In Group G, already-qualified Atlético Madrid remained top despite drawing 1-1 away to Zenit St Petersburg, albeit in fortuitous circumstances.

Though the hosts enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, Atletico went 1-0 up when Adrian pounced to put them ahead in the 53rd minute.

However, an absolute fluke goal – when highly-rated goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois completely miscalculated a straightforward tip-over from Toby Alderweireld’s defensive header – saved Zenit saved in the 74th minute.

Elsewhere in the group, Porto were held 1-1 at home to Austra Vienna.

Paulo Fonseca’s side were made to pay for a slow start as Roman Kienast smashed in Vienna’s first goal of the group stages so far after 11 minutes.

Porto dominated thereafter but only had Jackson Martinez’s header shortly after half-time to show for it.

The Portuguese side are now a point adrift of Zenit with one game left to play.


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