Oct 1, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Amsterdam Arena
Ajax
1-1
AC Milan
FT(HT: 0-0)
Balotelli (92' pen.)
Constant (42'), Balotelli (61')

Live Commentary: Ajax 1-1 AC Milan - as it happened

Milan's Mario Balotelli is congratulated by team mates after scoring his team's third goal against Cagliari on September 1, 2013
© AFP
Sports Mole brings you live text commentary of tonight's Champions League clash between Ajax and AC Milan at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Ajax and AC Milan did battle for the 13th time in competitive competition at the Amsterdam ArenA this evening.

The two teams were level in the head-to-head match-up, although the Rossoneri's record against Dutch opposition is superior to the hosts' against Italian sides.

Frank de Boer's men looked like they had snatched a late winner when Stefano Denswil towered high above the Milan defence to plant a header past Christian Abbiati, but a late Mario Balotelli penalty ensured a share of the spoils.

Read how the 90 minutes unfolded in the Dutch capital by scrolling down.


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6.45pmGood evening! Welcome to Sports Mole for live commentary of tonight's Champions League clash between Ajax and AC Milan in Amsterdam.

6.46pmTeam news just in, we'll start with the hosts...

6.47pmAJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Moisander, Denswil, Blind, De Jong, Poulsen, Duarte, De Sa, Sigthorsson, Fischer

6.50pmMILAN: Abbiati, Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant, Montolivo, De Jong, Muntari, Birsa, Balotelli, Robinho

6.52pmAJAX SUBS: Vermeer, Van der Hoorn, Boilesen, Andersen, Klaassen, Schone, Hoesen
MILAN SUBS: Amelia, Zaccardo, Poli, Nocerino, Cristante, Emanuelson, Matri

6.55pmThe big news for the hosts is that Jasper Cillessen is given the nod over Kenneth Vermeer between the sticks. Also, Bojan is missing through injury against his former club. That means 20-year-old winger Lesley De Sa starts alongside Siem de Jong and Viktor Fischer, just behind striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.

6.58pmMassimiliano Allegri goes for an attack comprised of Mario Balotelli, Robinho and Riccardo Montolivo. Philippe Mexes comes into the defence, otherwise it's as you were at the back for the Rossoneri. Nigel de Jong, Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo form a three-man midfield. Christian Abbiati makes his 332nd appearance for Diavolo, which is a new club record.

7pmFRANK DE BOER: "Milan have three very strong forwards and a good midfield. The most important thing is that we try to get three points. The next three matches are crucial. We will go into the match with a positive attitude. We don't have a team that can sit back and play on the counter. The most important thing is that we play our own game. You don't expect to get points at Camp Nou, our best chances will come at home."

7pmMASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI: "There are no easy games in Europe. Ajax play good football, so we must be careful. They are good at recovering the ball, so we must be at our best to win. Should we win, we stand a good chance of qualifying for the next round and can be more relaxed for the Barcelona games which will be very tough. We have analysed Ajax closely, and Urby Emanuelson and Nigel de Jong have helped with that. We must approach the game with a focused attitude."

7.01pm

7.05pmAjax boss Frank de Boer was part of the team the won the European Cup for a fourth time in the club's history in 1995. Patrick Kluivert's 84th-minute goal that decided matters that night in Vienna, and two years later he was a Rossoneri player. However, he was shipped off to Barcelona a year later having scored just six goals in Italy. Here is that goal at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion, which forever wrote him into the history of the Dutch giants:



7.15pmAjax have played against Italian opposition on 41 occasions, winning 12, drawing 13 and losing 16. Their last win was against Fiorentina in the third round of the 2009 UEFA Cup, when Kennedy Bakircioglu scored the only goal in Florence. The Dutch side went on to draw 1-1 in the second leg, which saw them through 2-1 on aggregate.

7.18pmMilan have a better record against Dutch opposition, with 12 wins, four draws and nine losses from their 25 matches. The Rossoneri dumped PSV Eindhoven out of this year's competition in a playoff.

7.22pmSports Mole also have coverage of all the other matches taking place on what promises to be another exciting night of Champions League football.




7.28pmTonight's early kickoff in Russia ended 0-0 between Zenit St Petersburg and Austria Vienna. Terrific point away from home for Nenad Bjelica's boys, who are making their debut in the competition this season.

7.35pmThere is quite a bit of history between these two clubs when it comes to players who've played for both. We've covered Patrick Kluivert, but there's also Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf and Edgar Davids, as well as more contemporary figures such as Jaap Stam, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Quite the roll call.

7.40pmPREDICTION: This is a tough assignment for Massimiliano Allegri's men, who once again have got off to a sluggish start in Serie A. Ajax haven't exactly been firing on all cylinders either, but they'll be right up for this. A 6-0 win over Go Ahead Eagles at the weekend may have given them some confidence in front of goal as well. With that being said, I'm going for a 2-1 win for the home side.

7.42pmREFEREE: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden). He took charge of last year's quarter-final first leg between Milan and Barcelona, which ended 0-0. It also ended goalless the last time he officiated an Ajax match, which was back in 2011 against Lyon in France.

7.44pmThe players have made their way from the tunnel onto the pitch, so we're just moments from kickoff in the Dutch capital.

0 minKICKOFF! Milan get the game underway in Amsterdam...

4 minThe two teams are just feeling each other out in the early stages. Milan seem happy to sit back and play on the counter, while Ajax stroke the ball around at the back.

5 minSAVE! Nice move by Ajax, with Duarte slipping the ball through for Sigthorsson to shoot from a tightening angle, but Abbiati saves with his legs at the near post.

8 minA ball in from the right by Van Rhijn is put behind for a corner. Duarte takes it short to Fischer, but the Dane's cross is too deep. It's been a very good start from the home side. Looking assured in possession.

10 minAjax have had 81% of the ball in the first 10 minutes, and it's not as if they haven't been going forward. Nor have Milan really given the ball away, it's just been complete ball hogging. How selfish.

14 minMilan finally put a tackle in... only it's De Jong on Abate. That's one way to go about business, I suppose. Although I'm not sure it counts...

15 minStill Ajax dominate possession. This is quite unreal, we're up to 83% now. Milan are sitting very deep and watching them pass the ball about. Not much penetration in the last few minutes though.

17 minSHOT! Oof! Fischer lets fly from the edge of the box and it whistles narrowly wide of Abbiati's far post. Not a bad effort at all, he really got hold of it.

22 minFinally Balotelli puts some pressure on the Ajax backline as they pass to one another and, low and behold, he forces a mistake. That's more like it. Milan have a throw in Ajax's final third, which normally isn't something I'd bother telling you... but it counts as a rarity in this game so far.

25 minMilan are defending as a solid unit, but to come here with this gameplan is extremely unimaginative on Allegri's behalf.

27 minGreat forward play by Sigthorsson! He chases down Zapata and forces the defender into playing the ball straight to Duarte, who then crosses for De Jong. However, Mexes does enough to put him off.

30 minA rare foray forward from Milan, with Constant getting down the left. His ball into the box isn't good enough, although the striped shirts in support were scarce.

35 minConstant brings down De Sa, giving Ajax a chance to deliver a free kick into the box from the right byline. Silly foul. It was a good ball over the top from Van Rhijn that had him in all sorts of trouble.

36 minSAVE! Duarte tries to catch out Abbiati, who has to parry over the bar. Milan only half clear the resulting corner, with Constant's header falling kindly for Moisander on the edge of the box. However, his effort fizzes over the bar.

38 minAjax are down to 78% possession now, although clearly still well on top. Milan have offered nothing going forward, they simply haven't been allowed to.

40 minRobinho has just belted the ball straight in Duarte's face from a couple of yards away. To be honest, I'd forgotten that the Brazilian was even playing.

41 minMilan win a corner. Robinho takes it, but Ajax have plenty of bodies in the box to clear the danger.

42 minBOOKING! Kevin Constant is the first man into the referee's book for a foul on Siem de Jong.

45 minZapata has given away possession on a number of occasions in the first half, which hasn't helped Milan's cause. He doesn't look very comfortable at all. Apart from that, the Rossoneri have been pretty solid.

8.32pmHALF TIME: Ajax 0-0 AC Milan

8.34pmWell, that was probably as dominant as you can get without scoring a goal from Ajax. They finished the half with 70% possession, although they have only had five attempts on goal, with just two of them forcing Abbiati into a save. Milan had no attempts on goal. Nil. Nada. Nothing.

8.36pm...zilch. Zip. Diddly-squat. OK, I'll stop now. But seriously, Allegri needs to show some imagination here. The front three have done nothing to help their team by closing down Ajax as they keep the ball in the middle of the park, and the link between midfield and attack is non existent. His defence is positioned so deep, and that's allowed the hosts oceans of space to operate.

8.38pmIn tonight's other match in Group H, it's currently goalless between Celtic and Barcelona in Glasgow. Here is the view of Sports Mole's own Matt Law, who is covering that particular game:


"It will come as no surprise to learn that Barcelona have utterly dominated the possession, but there have been few clear-cut chances. Celtic have been fairly poor on the ball, but they have managed to keep the Spanish champions out for the first 45 minutes."


8.43pmThere was an unexpected development in the game between Basel and Schalke in Switzerland, when Greenpeace protesters halted the game at St Jakob's Park. Click here to read more about it.

8.44pmAnyway, the players are back on the pitch in Amsterdam and ready for the second 45 minutes. What will Allegri have said to his men at the break? Well, we're about to find out...

45 minRESTART! Ajax get the second half underway...

47 minThere's a bit of a melee on the edge of the Ajax box, as Balotelli scraps for the ball with four Ajax players. Muntari comes barging in and concedes a free kick.

48 minSAVE! Milan have their first shot, and it's on target too. However, Cillessen gets both hands behind Montolivo's effort.

51 minAllegri's words seem to have done the trick, as it's Milan pressing the issue early in the second half. Balotelli lines up a 35-yard free kick, which hits the wall and goes behind for a corner. Nothing comes of it, though.

54 minAbate plays in Poli down the right but his cross is put behind for a corner. Milan look like a completely different side. They are playing a much higher line and are enthused. A big improvement already.

56 minSAVE! Abbiati is on hand to save Sigthorsson's header. It was a good ball in from Van Rhijn, whose delivery has been a threat for the hosts.

58 minAjax have not shied away from this rejuvenated Milan side. They are beginning to find more space in the final third now, whereas in the first half they had free reign of the midfield.

59 minAJAX SUB: Lerin Duarte makes way for Lasse Schone. Can only think that it's an injury, as he has played quite well this evening. Still, the Danish international, signed from NEC last year, comes into the fray.

61 minBOOKING! Mario Balotelli joins Kevin Constant in the referee's book for a foul on Van Rhijn.

63 minOFF THE BAR! Oh my word, what a strike by Balotelli! He cut inside on his right foot after being set free by Robinho and bent a shot towards the top corner, but Cillessen diverted it onto the bar with his fingertips. Amazing save!

64 minAJAX SUB: Highly-rated youngster Lucas Andersen makes his way onto the field, and he'll be replacing Lesley De Sa. Like for like.

65 minUPDATE! There has been a red card in Glasgow, and it's the home side who are down to 10 men. Scott Brown is the man given his marching orders for kicking out at Neymar. It's still 0-0, but Neil Lennon's men have a task on their hands now...

70 minBalotelli has been a danger throughout this second half. What can he conjure in the final 20 minutes? It's Milan on top at the moment.

73 minThere's a break in play as Moisander receives some treatment.

75 minOoooooh, a nervy moment for Denswil there. He dallied on the ball just a moment too long and had to stretch to knock the ball back to Cillessen.

77 minAjax are still trying to get forward but they're losing the midfield battle now. A far cry from the first half indeed.

78 minAJAX SUB: De Boer makes his final change of the evening, and it's Niklas Moisander making way for Mike van der Hoorn. Fresh legs at the back, especially as the Finn seems to have picked up a knock.

79 minCHANCE! Incisive play from Milan! Abate and Poli link up once more down the right, and the latter's cross into the box nearly finds Montolivo, but the ball was just behind him as he shaped to strike. That was nearly the moment right there.

80 minMILAN SUB: Allegri finally makes a change, and it's an attacking one. Alessandro Matri is the man to come on, signalling the end of Robinho's night in the Dutch capital.

81 minTwo out-and-out strikers on for Milan now. They're going for the win, have no doubt about that.

83 minUPDATE! Barcelona have finally broken through in Glasgow. It's come 15 minutes from the end, with Cesc Fabregas getting the goal. Click here to follow the end of that game.

84 minMILAN SUB: Urby Emanuelson comes on against his former club, replacing Andrea Poli, who has had a decent second half.

89 minAjax have the ball in the net, but the referee had blown his whistle for a clear handball by Schone. The Dane uised his arm to control the ball before having a dig, which Abbiati parried right into the path of Sigthorsson.

90 minGOAL! Ajax 1-0 Milan (Stefano Denswil)

90 minIt's there! Ajax have done it! Stefano Denswil towers high above the Milan defence to crash home a header from Schone's corner! They have had to withstand heavy pressure in this second half and they have their reward!

90+2 minPENALTY TO MILAN!

90+2 minMario Balotelli went down under the challenge of Mike van der Hoorn. It was a soft one, but the Italian international has the chance to make up for his miss against Napoli...

90+3 minGOAL! Ajax 1-1 Milan (Mario Balotelli)

90+3 minNo mistake from Balotelli, who stutters his run up and dispatches the kick into the bottom corner. Late drama in Amsterdam, completely befitting of an entertaining second half!

90+4 minI didn't even have time to tell you that Milan also had an effort cleared off the line before the penalty was awarded!

9.36pmFULL TIME: Ajax 1-1 AC Milan

9.39pmWell that was some finish. It's harsh on Ajax, as the penalty was won by Balotelli rather than conceded by Van der Hoorn. Let's just put it like that.

9.40pmThe other match in Group H ended with a 1-0 win for Barcelona. That puts them top of the pile after two games.

9.42pmCHAMPIONS LEAGUE RESULTS:
Zenit 0-0 Austria Vienna
Basel 0-1 Schalke
Steaua 0-4 Chelsea
Dortmund 3-0 Marseille
Arsenal 2-0 Napoli
Porto 1-2 Atletico
Ajax 1-1 Milan
Celtic 0-1 Barcelona

9.45pmSo that wraps up another night of Champions League football on Sports Mole. Join us again tomorrow when we'll be covering all the action from another round of fixtures. Until then, it's farewell...

AC Milan's Stephan El Shaarawy celebrates with team mate Ignazio Abate after scoring the opening goal against PSV Eindhoven on August 20, 2013
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