A 92nd minute goal from Noussair Mazraoui earned Ajax a 1-0 victory over Benfica and kept the Amsterdammers on course for the Champions League knockout rounds. 

The games against Benfica were seen as the crucial ties when the draw was made and with Ajax on four points and the Portuguese giants on three, a win for either side would have put them in a very strong position.

Ajax began nervously and Benfica got two excellent chances, but Andre Onana denied Rafa Silva before Matthijs de Ligt cleared off the line from Haris Seferovic. At the other end, Frenkie de Jong was behind some excellent attacks of Ajax, but Hakim Ziyech had a lob kept out by Odisseas Vlachodimos, who also kept out Kasper Dolberg when the striker was through on goal.

Five minutes before the break, Ajax came within inches of the lead when Dolberg hooked the ball towards goal, only for Germán Conti to clear on the line.

In the second half it was tense as both teams looked for a killer goal but Ajax were restricted to strikes from distance from Ziyech and Donny van de Beek, while Onana kept out a Seferovic volley.

Fifteen minutes from time, van de Beek had a clear strike at goal inside the box after being set up by Ziyech, but his shot was brilliantly kept out by Vlachodimos. Lasse Schone and Ziyech also wasted good free-kick opportunities.

De Jong had a strike deflected over in what appeared to be the final opportunity of the match, but in injury time, Ajax struck. A big error by Conti was capitalised on by David Neres, whose cross eventually made its way to Mazraoui on the edge of the box. The right-back’s strike took a big deflection and nestled in the net.

The victory keeps Ajax top of the group and on the same points as Bayern Munich. In two weeks, Ajax travel to Portugal.




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