Ajax were 2-0 up and cruising in Belgium but Standard Liege came back to earn a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie.

Erik ten Hag handed Daley Blind his first start since returning with Carel Eiting dropping to the bench. Frenkie de Jong moved into the midfielder, while there was once again no place for Donny van de Beek.

After a cagey opening quarter, Ajax took the lead on 19 minutes with Dusan Tadic beating his man on the wing before crossing for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to head in the opener. Tadic then doubled the lead before the break, firing a low strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

In the second half, Hakim Ziyech sent a shot just wide as the Amsterdammers looked to kill the tie. However, with 23 minutes left, Standard Liege pulled one back through Mehdi Carcela, who fired a long range effort past Andre Onana. Moments later, Standard almost equalised but the inside of the post kept out Emond’s header.

Huntelaar squandered a good chance to make it 3-1 but it seemed Ajax were set to cling onto victory heading into six minutes added on time. However, Noussair Mazraoui gave away a penalty in stoppage time which Emond netted to earn Standard Liege a draw.

Ajax must now complete the job in Amsterdam next week to reach the playoffs. Two away goals is a decent return but Ten Hag will be furious that his side threw away a victory.




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