Ajax have topped their UEFA Youth League group and are into the knockout rounds despite a 2-1 defeat at home to Bayern Munich on Wednesday. 

John Heitinga’s side went into the final group games three points clear at the top and almost assured of a place in the next round unless they succumb to a heavy defeat.

Bayern needed to better Benfica’s result against AEK Athens, and they dominated Ajax from the start. In the 24th minute after plenty of pressure, Meritan Shabani fired the visitors ahead. 

Only several saves from the excellent Issam El Maach in the Ajax goal prevented Bayern from doubling their advantage before the break. In the 66th minute, Dutch striker Joshua Zirkzee headed in the German’s second.

Ajax were really poor but Brian Brobbey pulled one back on the counter with eleven minutes left. In the final moments, Bayern goalkeeper Christian Früchtl made three saves to deny Ajax a barely deserved equaliser.

Ajax top the group ahead of Benfica and they head into the knockout rounds. However, they will need to step up their performance in the next round. 

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