Ajax women outclassed by Chelsea in the quarter-finals of UEFA Champions League

Ajax women outclassed by Chelsea in the quarter-finals of UEFA Champions League

AMSTERDAM --Ajax women’s team was outclassed by Chelsea in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday. The London side was a level above their opponents, winning 0-3 in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Ajax was missing their captain, Sherida Spitse, for the match due to a suspension. Left-back Daliyah de Klonia replaced her. It was a very young Ajax side with just two starting players older than 23.

Almost 36,000 fans came to the Johan Cruijff ArenA to watch the match. It was a new record for most fans at a women’s football match. Ajax hit the post in the early stages through Romee Leuchter with a shot from outside the box. However, the rest of the first half will not have brought much joy to the crowd. The London side took the lead in the 19th minute. A deflection brought the ball to Lauren James, who calmly dribbled around Ajax goalkeeper Regina van Eijk before rolling it in. James did it with the calmness of somebody who probably thought she was offside, which was the on-field decision.

However, a VAR review showed that James was onside before the deflection, so the goal stood. Guro Reiten thought she had doubled the London side tally before halftime, but her goal was disallowed for an offside of a teammate. However, it did not last long as Emma Hayes’s side made it 2-0 just a minute later. Sjoeke Nusken, who was the reason for the goal being disallowed a minute earlier, slid the ball home from close range after a cross from Reiten right before halftime. Ajax were desperate for the whistle and were fortunate to go into the break two goals down as opposed to three. Erin Cuthbert laid the ball off to Nusken in the box, but the striker placed her shot wide. Nusken scored her second goal in the second half of the match. A cross from substitute Catarina Macario found Nusken, who headed in from close range, unmarked in the box. Both teams made substitutions, but the difference in class was too evident as Chelsea calmly played out the rest of the match.

The Daily Herald

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