Pressing + controlled football: How Ajax opened up Barcelona for 1st goal in 2-1 win
“Ajax is on the right track, but we are not there yet. It was a lovely evening. They can play football, the quality is there.” = Johan Cruyff.
Before this season, Barcelona and Ajax had never met in European football.
At the Nou Camp in the group stages, Barcelona blitzed Ajax aside 4-0 but came into the second game at the Amsterdam Arena already through.
Nevertheless, Tata Martino’s side was close to full strength but were beaten for the first time this season in a masterful display from Ajax.
In particular, the first half has been widely hailed across Europe as one of the best ever from Frank De Boer’s side as it featured brilliant pressing combined with controlled football.
Once again, Ajax have produced a team from their own youth sides, with great tactical intelligence and there will be many rooting for them as they bid to gain a spot in the knockout stages at AC Milan in the final gameweek.
The video below shows how Ajax won the ball back for Thulani Serero’s opener before controlling the football and then hitting Barcelona with a sweeping move.