Ajax came away from Cyprus with a disappointing 1-1 draw against APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League.

  • By Michael Bell
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ajaanderAfter the opening 1-1 draw with PSG in Amsterdam, Ajax went to Cyprus looking for a win that would give them a good chance of challenging for the next round with two games against Barcelona to come.

Frank de Boer continued with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson up front after his hat-trick at the weekend, but the Icelandic striker returned to his usual wasteful play in Cyprus. After only two minutes Davy Klaassen set Sigthorsson up in front of the goal after a great team move, but he could only fire wide of the target with just the goalkeeper to beat. Seven minutes later the midfielder set Sigthorsson up again but the forward could not get on the end of the ball.

Ajax had started the game on top and they got their reward after 27 minutes when Lasse Schone had a shot saved and Lucas Andersen fired in the rebound.

However the lead was to only last two minutes as Apoel were awarded a penalty for a dubious handball decision against Ricardo van Rhijn. Despite protests from the away side the decision stood and Gustavo Manduca slotted the penalty past Jasper Cillessen, who is still to save a spot kick in his career. The goal woke Apoel up and Cillian Sheridan wasted a good chance to give the hosts the lead before the break after beating Niklas Moisander for pace.

After the break Ajax looked nervous, and goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was lucky to escape a red card when he rushed out of goal before taking out Sheridan.

Frank de Boer waited until the 75th minute before making a change, but Arek Milik, who scored six goals in one game last week, was left on the bench, with Anwar El Ghazi and Ricardo Kishna thrown on to inject pace to the attack. The changes improved Ajax going forward, but they could not find a winning goal, with Thulani Serero missing an open goal in the last minute to sum up the Eredivisie champions night.

Its two points from two games for Ajax, who now face a double header against Barcelona, who lost 3-2 to PSG in the other group game. If Ajax cant get at least three points from those two matches then they will once again be looking at third place and the Europa League.

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