Ajax face an uphill struggle to reach the next qualifying round of the Champions League after being held to a 1-1 draw at the Amsterdam Arena by Greek side PAOK.

dolberg aaPeter Bosz’s first competitive game in charge of the club saw Ajax line-up with debutante’s Mateo Cassierra and Kasper Dolberg in attack with Arkaduisz Milik still absent, on a day he was linked with a €35 million move to Napoli.

The home side completely dominated possession from the start but struggled to find a way through a resolute PAOK defence. Dolberg saw a goal chalked off for offside, while Jairo Riedewald struck the post with a fierce strike as Ajax looked for a breakthrough.

However, on 27 minutes disaster struck as Jasper Cillessen made a huge error which gifted PAOK the lead. A long ball over the top seemed under control, but Cillessen rushed out of his box to meet PAOK attacker Djalma Campos, who beat the goalkeeper to the ball before lifting a strike into the net from a tight angle.

Anwar El Ghazi went close to an equaliser with a fierce drive which was palmed wide, while Dolberg has a goalbound header tipped over the bar. Eventually after 57 minutes Ajax equalised as Dolberg picked the ball up outside the box before turning and firing a low strike into the bottom corner.

The 18-year-old Dane’s debut goal should have lifted Ajax in search for a winner, but they struggled for momentum in the final third and they barely threatened to score again in the final 30 minutes as PAOK held on.

Ajax now travel to Greece next week needing at least a score draw if they are to keep their Champions League campaign alive.

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