Ajax reach last-16 for first time since 2006 after AEK Athens win
Dusan Tadic scores twice as crowd trouble mars Group E clash
Ajax’s 2-0 win away to AEK Athens was marred by crowd trouble. Photograph: Costas Baltas/Reuters
Ajax Amsterdam reached the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2006 after a Dusan Tadic brace gave the Dutch side a 2-0 win over 10-man AEK Athens in Greece on Tuesday.
The result left four-time European Cup winners Ajax top of Group E on 11 points from five games, one ahead of Bayern Munich who are at home to third-placed Benfica (four points) in the 8.0pm kick-off.
AEK, who had Marko Livaja sent off in the second half, have no points and have been eliminated from European competition after suffering a fifth straight defeat.
Tadic fired Ajax ahead with a 68th-minute penalty and sealed the win four minutes later after the visitors, who have won four titles in Europe’s premier club competition, dominated their subdued rivals.
Although they enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession, Ajax failed to create any chances before midfielder Donny van de Beek hit the post in the 63d minute after Tadic’s clever cut-back from the left.
English referee Michael Oliver awarded Ajax a penalty after Livaja handled a free kick and sent off the Croatian with a second yellow card for the offence before Tadic calmly converted the spot kick.
With AEK reeling, the visitors delivered the killer blow as substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar squared the ball to Tadic and the Serbia forward made no mistake from eight metres after home keeper Vasilios Barkas was caught out of position.
The fixture in Athens was marred by violent scenes before kick-off.
Ajax fans came under attack in the Greek capital as home supporters threw flares into the stands housing the Dutch supporters.
Shocking photos showed police officers hitting Ajax fans, leaving some of them caked in blood in the away end.
Footage posted on social media also appeared to show a man leaving the AEK stands to throw a molotov cocktail at the Ajax supporters.