Flash back to 19.40pm on the 8th December 2010 and a low on confidence young Ajax side, featuring a domestically suspended Luis Suarez (yes for biting), two current Spurs players in Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen, whilst former Dutch No1 Marten Steklenberg in between the sticks, had just walked out at the San Siro to take on the feared Italian Champions, AC Milan.

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ac v ajaThe game, deemed the ‘changing of the guard,’ as Frank de Boer, recently named the temporary manager of Ajax, took charge of his first game following the sacking (yes, another sacking) of Martin Jol. In the league, Ajax were way off the pace, an all too regular occurrence given their last Eredivisie title was back in 2004. Since that last title, seven managers had come and gone without success before Frank took charge, relishing the opportunity to manage the club he played over 300 games for. The objective was simple, win and the four time European Cup champions from Amsterdam would remain in European competition, albeit the Europa League. The task, given the poor form (only won 2 of their last 8 fixtures) of Ajax seemed almost nigh on impossible when you consider the AC Milan side contained greats such as Ronaldinho, Clarence Seedorf, and Robinho, while former Ajax striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic entered the field after 63 Minutes.

AC Milan had second place in the group wrapped up so the Champions League knock out stages awaited the Rossoneri whilst Real Madrid, the most successful club in European Cup history, had already qualified as the Group winners. The 11th European competitive game between the two at the Amsterdam Arena early in the Group campaign saw both sides share the spoils in a 1-1 draw, the same score line coincidentally this season, following Mario Balotelli’s last minute penalty strike.

An Ajax side looking to impress for their interim manager shocked the San Siro by controlling the first half and they were deeply unfortunate to not be leading at the break, though unsurprisingly Luis Suarez was booked for diving after 35 minutes. The game at the San Siro would in fact be the Uruguayans last game for Ajax before a £22.5 move to Liverpool.

In the second half it was more of the same with the Amsterdammers controlling the game and they made a deserved breakthrough on 57 minutes when Demy De Zeeuw calmly knocked into the net following a rebound from Siem de Jong’s blocked effort. Just less than nine minutes later the Ajax faithful were further rewarded with a second following neat dribbling by Luis Suarez in the box opened up an opportunity for Toby Alderweireld to unleash a bullet into the AC Milan net, 2-0.

The famous result in the San Siro solidified Frank de Boers claims that he was the right man for the job and return Ajax to their glory days. Since then, Ajax have won three successive Eredivisie titles, and defeated giants in European football, notably Man City last season and just two weeks ago, FC Barcelona. The task is simple for Ajax, win, and they progress through to the next stage of the Champions League for the first time since the 2005/06 season whilst a loss would see them feature in the Europa League knock out stages for the fifth year running.

It’s a tough ask for Ajax but they head into the fixture on Wednesday with stronger form than the previous encounter, and a repeat of that famous night is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Leo Walker (36 Posts)