Champions League: Benfica stun Ajax with Darwin Nunez goal to reach quarter-finals | Football News – Times of India

AMSTERDAM: Darwin Nunez headed dwelling within the 77th minute as Benfica surprised Ajax to achieve the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, profitable the second leg of their last-16 tie 1-0 in Amsterdam to advance 3-2 on mixture.
The Portuguese aspect had not managed a single try heading in the right direction till Uruguayan striker Nunez beat goalkeeper Andre Onana to Alex Grimaldo‘s free-kick and headed in to silence the Johan Cruyff Area.

Ajax, who had dominated the primary half, couldn’t recuperate from that blow and exit whereas two-time European Cup winners Benfica sit up for Friday’s draw for the quarter-finals.
Having despatched Barcelona packing within the group stage, they may now seem within the final eight for the primary time since 2016.
“We’re among the many eight finest groups in Europe. The group labored so exhausting to realize this towards actually tough opponents,” stated Benfica coach Nelson Verissimo.

Ajax’s star striker, Sebastien Haller, had been hoping to attain in an eighth consecutive Champions League recreation this season having netted a exceptional 11 targets in his first seven appearances within the competitors.
But he was upstaged by the 22-year-old Nunez as Benfica’s personal prolific ahead discovered the goal for the twenty sixth time in all competitions because the begin of the marketing campaign.

“We weren’t ok in both field. We must always have scored however did not take our probabilities after which we conceded an avoidable objective,” French-born Ivory Coast worldwide Haller informed broadcaster Canal Plus.
“It was the right recreation for them. We depart with regrets however sadly that’s football. The group who dominate don’t all the time win. We simply should be taught from our errors.”

A swashbuckling Ajax aspect had gained all six video games within the group stage earlier than twice main towards Benfica within the first leg in Lisbon solely to should accept a 2-2 draw.
Haller, who has 32 targets in complete this season, had scored at each ends in that recreation and he had the ball within the internet within the seventh minute right here just for the trouble to be dominated out as a result of Dusan Tadic was flagged offside within the build-up.
Erik ten Hag’s prolific aspect, who’re prime of the Dutch Eredivisie, checked out their finest within the first half however couldn’t discover a manner by way of as Steven Berghuis blasted over on the volley from simply contained in the field.

Ryan Gravenberch then unleashed an outstanding shot that was tipped over by Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos, and they didn’t look as threatening within the second half.
As a substitute they discovered themselves behind for the primary time within the tie as Nunez struck, and a Benfica group who lie third within the Portuguese league, 12 factors behind leaders Porto, held on to hitch the cream of Europe’s elite within the final eight.

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