Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Ajax 1-2 Roma: Ibanez stunner gives Serie A side the edge

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Apr 2021

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Ibanez scored a stunning late winner as Roma came from behind to take command of their Europa League quarter-final with Ajax with a 2-1 first-leg win in Amsterdam.

Roma looked to be heading for a damaging defeat when Davy Klaasen put Ajax ahead in the 39th minute and Dusan Tadic won a penalty shortly after the restart.

But Pau Lopez saved from 12 yards before European debutant Kjell Scherpen’s huge error at the other end allowed Lorenzo Pellegrini to equalise.

And a late moment of magic turned the tide firmly in Roma’s favour, the defender unleashing an unstoppable volley to give the Serie A side the lead in the tie going into next week’s return leg.

Edin Dzeko fired past the left-hand post and Bryan Cristante forced Scherpen into a fine diving save with a powerful long-range effort as Roma started brightly.

Tadic spurned Ajax’s first clear-cut opportunity at the end of a well-worked move but he was key in helping the hosts take the lead six minutes before half-time.

Klaasen pounced on Amadou Diawara’s sloppy pass towards his own goal and fed Tadic, whose return pass presented the midfielder with the simple task of slotting into an unguarded net.

Soon after picking the ball out of his net, Lopez had to be alert to prevent Antony from doubling the deficit and his decision to stand his ground when faced with a Tadic penalty seven minutes into the second half paid dividends as he palmed away the spot-kick after the forward was fouled by Ibanez.

And Ajax were duly punished for Tadic’s failure to convert, though he would have expected Scherpen to handle Pellegrini’s relatively tame free-kick instead of fumbling it over the line.

Lopez was almost guilty of a similarly egregious error when he spilled a seemingly innocuous effort from Nicolas Tagliafico, but he was soon back to his best to smother when Brian Brobbey came through on goal.

He then turned an Antony volley over the crossbar as Ajax tried and failed to reclaim the advantage, before then being dealt a major blow three minutes from time when Pellegrini’s corner was deflected into the path of Ibanez, who controlled it brilliantly with his chest and sent a scorching volley beyond a helpless Scherpen and into the roof of the net.

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