Ajax’s Europa League hopes are hanging by a thread after a 2-0 loss at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

After two straight wins, Ajax’s form has taken an upturn since the arrival of John van ‘t Schip but Brighton was a step up in class from Volendam and Heerenveen.

Ajax began brightly but fell behind in the 15th minute when a loss of ball by Silvano Vos ended with Ansu Fati firing the visitors in front.

Bart Verbruggen had little to do in the Brighton goal before the break but Ajax did have two penalty shouts when Brian Brobbey went down in the box and the ball hit the arm of Pascal Gross. However, both were waved away.

Seven minutes into the second half, Fati played in Simon Adingra on the right and he fired Brighton 2-0 in front.

Ajax’s best chance came 15 minutes from time with Brobbey’s effort hitting both posts before rebounding to safety. Substitute Chuba Akpom then forced Verbruggen into a save as the Brighton defence held on for a clean sheet.

Brighton moves onto seven points while Ajax are bottom of the group with two. Wins are now needed in the games to come against AEK Athens and Marseille if the Amsterdammers are to have any chance of getting out of the group.

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