Tadic revels in 'wonderful' achievement as Ajax make Champions League history

By Sports Desk November 03, 2021

Dusan Tadic basked in Ajax's "wonderful" achievement after the last-16 bound Dutch giants won their opening four Champions League group-stage games for the first time in their history.

Ajax made their numerical advantage count as they overturned a half-time deficit to outlast Group C rivals Borussia Dortmund 3-1 en route to the knockout phase on Wednesday.

Dortmund captain Marco Reus converted a 37th-minute penalty after star defender Mats Hummels was controversially sent off eight minutes earlier at Signal-Iduna Park.

Ajax went on to power past Dortmund thanks to goals from Tadic, Sebastien Haller and Davy Klaassen inside the final 21 minutes.

Eredivisie powerhouse Ajax also became the first Dutch team to win their first four matches in a single Champions League campaign, while they celebrated four successive wins in the competition for the first time since March 1996.

"It's wonderful; four matches and 12 points," captain Tadic – who has been directly involved in 20 goals in 28 Champions League matches for Ajax (nine goals and 11 assists) – at least eight more than any other player at the club – told RTL 7 after his 72nd-minute equaliser.

"It's a great feeling to beat such a good team in a great stadium like this.

"I thought we played very poorly in the first half. We lost possession too often. At half-time we said that we had to move the ball round faster and cut out the mistakes. The second half was much better."

Despite another win, Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag was not completely satisfied post-match on the road.

"We have to learn our lessons from how we played in the first half if we want to progress and learn. We made a lot of mistakes and let our opponents play to their strengths," he told RTL 7.

"We were too impatient, and surrendered possession far too often. But we also showed that we can play poorly for part of the game and still beat a strong opponent."

Haller, meanwhile, became only the fifth player to score in each of his first four Champions League appearances, after Ze Carlos (1993), Alessandro Del Piero (1995), Diego Costa (2014) and Erling Haaland (2019).

Related items

  • Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points as he became the player with the most wins in the Milwaukee Bucks' history on Friday, with the Chicago Bulls beaten 113-97 at United Center.

    For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

    Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

    The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

    "Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like the last couple of games, we're doing that and that's why our defense has taken a step," Antetokounmpo said after the win. 

    "Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

    For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

    "We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

    "We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

    Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

    They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

  • Man Utd can learn from Man City but we must do things our own way – Erik ten Hag Man Utd can learn from Man City but we must do things our own way – Erik ten Hag

    Manchester United can learn from Manchester City’s success but will not try to copy their methods, according to manager Erik Ten Hag.

    United head to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday for the Manchester derby once again a long way adrift of their neighbours in the Premier League.

    A restructuring of United’s football hierarchy is under way following the investment made by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group, with their first move to bring in Omar Berrada from City as chief executive.

    Ten Hag said: “I think you can always learn from opponents who are successful and you have to do it if you want to go to high levels but, at the same time, we have to do it in a United way.

    “This is a different club with a different environment, with a different DNA. But you pick up things that can be successful and you integrate it in your own model.”

    Ratcliffe wasted no time setting out his ambitions for United, arguing they can knock City and Liverpool “off their perch” in three years.

    United went into the weekend sitting 15 points below City and 16 adrift of Liverpool but Ten Hag insists he welcomes Ratcliffe setting public targets.

    “It helps,” said the Dutchman. “We have to show ambition. We want to be the best and that is what United stands for. But, at the same time, we know also where we are now.

    “We also have seen that there are moments where we go toe-to-toe. That’s the belief we have as a team. We have to pick up these moments and we have to prove it in every game. I think we are able to with this squad we have.”

    United have lost five of their last six matches against City, including a 6-3 defeat at the Etihad last season and a 3-0 home loss in October.

    “At this moment I have a lot of respect for them but not the respect that we think we can’t win this game,” said Ten Hag.

    “On the contrary, we will show we can win this game. In the (FA) Cup final, we showed we were very close. Also first half at Old Trafford in the home game before that crazy VAR moment changes the game completely.

    “The second half we didn’t play well and they played very well, so don’t let them come into the game, that is I think what we have to take with us for Sunday.”

    Ahead of the last derby, City boss Pep Guardiola said Liverpool rather than United were his side’s biggest rivals, and Ten Hag added: “The last decade, that is the way it went.

    “I think it’s a fair assessment. But we can’t accept this as a club. We have to bounce back. As Sir Jim says, we have to show ambition, we want to be the number one. I think that’s a good ambition.”

  • Nigel Adkins knows Tranmere’s win over Sutton was ‘important result’ Nigel Adkins knows Tranmere’s win over Sutton was ‘important result’

    Tranmere boss Nigel Adkins was clearly relieved after his side secured a 1-0 win over Sutton thanks to Rob Apter’s late strike.

    Apter delighted the Prenton Park faithful following a run of four defeats in Rovers’ previous five matches.

    Adkins said: “It’s the right result and it’s an important result, even if it did take us a long time to get there.

    “Great credit to the players, though. We’ve had two really long journeys this week and you could see how the opposition are.

    “They’ve got some big players and the goalkeeper likes to kick the ball the full length of the pitch.

    “We have to compete, but we did that and we’ve got the result. Maybe I’d have liked the players to pass the ball a bit better and be better in possession, but again huge credit to the players because they’ve ground this one out.

    “The application and the character shown by the players really pleased me overall. Sometimes it is fine margins – that’s the reality of it in this division.

    “There are a lot of good things that we’ve done of late, and we have to make sure we keep plugging away because we’re not far away at all.”

    After a largely uneventful first period, there was drama shortly after the restart when Rovers fluffed a penalty chance.

    After Ryan Jackson had brought down Harvey Saunders in the box, Sutton keeper Steve Arnold turned hero as he brilliantly saved Connor Jennings’ spot-kick.

    Both sides then went on to trade numerous chances, before Apter fired home the dramatic winner with time running out.

    Sutton boss Steve Morison has won just one game since taking over the reins at the start of the year and his side remain six points from safety.

    Morison said: “I’m just gutted for the players and the fans that travelled up here.

    “We gave a decent account of ourselves I thought, and carried out our game-plan pretty well.

    “We knew what we were going to be up against here, and I know I might sound like a broken record saying that I thought we performed well after losing one-nil.

    “The lads need to find it within themselves to get over the line in games. We were excellent on Tuesday night, so it’s really frustrating that we haven’t been able to get something here today.

    “If you don’t shoot you don’t score, or if you don’t buy a lottery ticket you don’t win – I’ve said that to the lads.

    “Don’t worry I’m not asking them to pass the ball around the box and then don’t shoot.

    “We just need to get to those areas and be free to put the ball in the back of the net and show no fear.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.