MX23RW : Thursday, September 24 17:43:39| >> :60:2558:2558:
Nov 26, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at Amsterdam Arena
Serero (19'), Hoesen (41')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Xavi (49')

Live Commentary: Ajax 2-1 Barcelona - as it happened

Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of the Champions League meeting between Ajax and Barcelona.

Ajax hosted Barcelona on Tuesday evening looking for a win which would keep their qualification hopes alive in the Champions League.

The Dutch club started the game on top and they took a 2-0 lead into the break thanks to goals from Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen.

Barcelona were handed the chance to pull a goal back when Joel Veltman was dismissed for bringing down Neymar.

Xavi scored the penalty that followed but the visitors couldn't find an equaliser late on.

Read below to find out how the drama unfolded.

Thanks for joining me on another exciting evening of Champions League football. I hope you've enjoyed the coverage. Goodnight.

It looked like Barcelona would claim something from the game when Veltman was dismissed but a superb effort at the back has ensured that Ajax can still qualify. They'll need to beat Milan in a couple of weeks to join Barcelona in the knockout stages.

Stunning display from Ajax. They've been superb all evening and have recorded a famous victory in front of their own supporters on a dramatic evening in Amsterdam.


Barcelona have every single player forward but Ajax continue to make the vital tackles when they're put under pressure. De Boer is looking nervous on the sidelines. Just a few moments remaining.

Plenty of great performances from Ajax tonight. Blind, Klaassen, Fischer and Moisander have all been on top of their game. Can they hold on?

Stunning effort from Klaassen to chase down what looks like a lost cause and win a corner from Pique. There will be three minutes of stoppage time added on.

Song hasn't been at his best in midfield tonight. Traore is in plenty of space on the right wing but the former Arsenal man fails to execute an easy pass.

Huge cheers from the Ajax crowd! Neymar looks certain to score an equaliser when he takes the ball past Cillessen but the assistant referee raises his flag to frustrate the forward.

Barcelona want a penalty but the referee isn't interested. Pedro exchanges passes with Neymar before going down after feeling contact from Moisander. Not enough for a penalty. Good decision.

Pique is playing as a centre forward now as Barcelona continue their search for the equaliser. The visitors are being frustrated by a superb Ajax defence and some pressure is relieved when Pedro gives away a foul.

SUBSTITUTION: De Boer makes his final change by swapping the excellent Hoesen for Lerin Duarte.

SUBSTITUTION: Martino continues to put his trust in a young bench as 17-year-old Adama Traore replaces Fabregas.

Brilliant defending from Ajax. Sergi Roberto shows off his skill when he cuts inside and picks out Song, whose low cross is cleared away on the stretch by Moisander.

Neymar stays out wide to collect the ball in space as Barcelona attack again. However, his low cross is deflected wide and Ajax clear two corners in quick succession.

Barcelona work the ball nicely from the right to the left wing, where Patric ignores the support to fire a shot over from 30 yards out.

Gasps from the Ajax supporters when Pinto takes a big risk under pressure from two players inside his six yard box. He could have handed the hosts victory there.

It's been an heroic effort from Ajax since they were reduced to 10 men. Martino is likely to be very concerned with how his side are struggling to test Cillessen.

SUBSTITUTION: Martino sends on another youngster, Sergi Roberto, to replace Xavi.

Barcelona are enjoying possession on the edge of the box but they're being forced wider by Ajax, who are doing a good job of defending with a narrow midfield when needed. Neymar delivers in a good cross from the left but Xavi is beaten in the air.

SUBSTITUTION: Puyol's night is over as Martino sends on Patric for his debut.

YELLOW CARD! Montoya is shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Serero as Ajax looked to launch a rare attack.

It's all Barcelona in midfield. The possession statistics are certainly in their favour but they'll need to create more to level the scores.

Barcelona are remaining patient as they search for an equaliser. Ajax aren't offering much of an attacking threat now as they attempt to get as many players behind the ball as possible.

CLOSE! Lovely play from Barcelona as they string a number of passes together on the edge of the box. Iniesta threatens to get a shot away but Serero's interception almost sees the ball drop in under the crossbar.

UPDATE! Ajax really need to hold on in Amsterdam. Milan's victory looks assured following Mario Balotelli's strike to give them a 3-0 lead over Celtic.

YELLOW CARD! Nasty foul from Van Rhijn, who catches Neymar on the side of the head with a high boot. He's looked under pressure since the mistake which led to the goal.

UPDATE! There's more bad news for Ajax fans. Milan are now 2-0 up in Glasgow following Christian Zapata's goal.

SAVE! Iniesta chips the ball over the Ajax defence to find Neymar, whose lobbed effort is just tipped over the crossbar by Cillessen. Superb save.

It's going to be a very long 35 minutes for the hosts. Barcelona have taken control since Xavi's penalty and Ajax are dropping deeper.

YELLOW CARD! Plenty of pushing from both sets of players when Neymar is cautioned for catching Hoesen with an overhead kick.

YELLOW CARD! Iniesta is the latest player to be booked when he brings down Denswil on the right wing.

SUBSTITUTION: De Boer reacts to the sending off by bringing Stefano Denswil on for Schone.

No mistake from Xavi as he fires into the corner from 12 yards to bring Barcelona back into this game. A few seconds of drama has completely changed this game.


PENALTY & RED CARD! A lazy pass from Van Rhijn at the back offers Neymar an opening but the Brazilian is chopped down by Veltman, who is immediately shown the red card. The contact was close to the edge of the box but the referee confidently points to the spot.

Barcelona are seeing a lot of the ball in the early stages of the second half but they still seem to be struggling to pick the right pass.

No changes at the break, so these Barcelona players have been trusted to produce a comeback. It's a big task for the visitors.

Barcelona will get the game back underway.

Barcelona may have already qualified but they'll know that first half display isn't acceptable. Can Ajax keep this form up in the second half?

It's not all good news for Ajax supporters. If thing stay as they are in Glasgow, where Milan are beating Celtic 1-0, the Dutch club will remain third at the end of matchday five.

Neymar has had a couple of sights at goal but they've been nothing more than half chances. Martino may be tempted to change things at half time.

Martino is yet to taste defeat as Barcelona manager but his side will need to produce something special to avoid a loss tonight. They've been unusually wasteful in possession and are struggling to create clear opportunities.

I said we could be treated to one of those special European nights and it's quickly turning into one for Ajax, who fully deserve their lead at the halfway stage. The hosts have been dominant and look like they could add to their two goals.


Barcelona win a free kick in a dangerous position and Xavi chips in a great ball. It looks like Neymar will tap in from close range but he can't stretch far enough to make contact.

The fourth official confirms there will be two minutes of stoppage time played.

Barcelona have been very, very poor tonight. Ajax seem to be causing problems every time they go forward but they must keep up the intensity.

Ajax extend their lead but Barcelona will be furious with their defending. Pinto does superbly well to block a powerful effort from Klaassen. However, Ajax keep the move alive and the ball comes back into the box. Barcelona have numerous chances to clear the danger but Hoesen takes advantage to convert via a deflection off Pique.


Apparently it doesn't matter where Blind plays tonight. The player of the game so far sprints down the left to curl in a lovely cross to the back post, where Montoya wins a free kick under big pressure from Schone.

YELLOW CARD! Fabregas is the next player to be booked when he throws the ball away just as Ajax were looking to launch a free kick. He'll miss the final group game.

Barcelona are seeing a lot more of the ball now but not in areas that will concern the home side. Pedro, Fabregas and Iniesta are struggling to get in the game in the first half.

The noise just hasn't stopped inside the ground. They're delighted with Ajax's display so far and rightly so, they've been brilliant.

SUBSTITUTION: What a shame. Boilesen took a knock under that challenge from Pique and he's forced off the field. Christian Poulsen is the replacement, so Blind is likely to move to full-back. That could make a difference.

SAVE! Pique's foul almost brings another Ajax goal as Schone stings Pinto's hands with a powerful effort from the free kick.

YELLOW CARD! Superb from Boilesen to cause problems on the left again with some clever skill. Pique hauls his opponent down before he can whip in a cross and the defender is rightly booked.

It would be interesting to see Barcelona's pass completion rate tonight. They're losing the ball a lot in midfield, with Blind continuing to impress for the hosts.

There's signs that Barcelona are beginning to settle in Amsterdam. Neymar is dropping deeper to pull the strings but his through ball to Puyol is intercepted by the much quicker Fischer.

The corner that follows Neymar's chance is played short to Iniesta, who whips in a dangerous cross. Fabregas is arriving late at the back post but he can't reach the ball on the stetch.

CHANCE! Ajax go to sleep for a brief moment and they're almost punished. Neymar beats the offside trap but his shot is deflected wide from just inside the box.

SHOT! Brilliant football on display from Ajax. Boilesen exchanges passes with Serero before crusing past two Barcelona players and picking out Schone, who fires an effort just over from outside the box. Barcelona are looking shocked.

Barcelona are taking too many risks at the back. Pinto is seeing a lot of the ball but he looks nervous playing passes to his defenders.

Van Rhijn is being gifted too much space on the right. He sprints forward over the halfway line but decides against whipping a cross. The shot that follows is blocked and Barcelona clear the corner.

I mentioned that Serero had been causing problems but he's gone one better to give the hosts the lead. A great team move sees the ball arrive on the right. Schone delivers a superb cross and Serero loses his marker to drill home from close range. Crucial goal for Ajax.


SHOT! Blind has been excellent in the early stages and his determination in midfield earns him some space on the edge of the box but his shot drifts well wide of the target.

UPDATE! Bad news for Ajax. Milan have taken the lead in their game against Celtic, with Kaka opening the scoring in Glasgow.

Serero's pace causes problems again as he sprints into the penalty box and takes a tumble. There didn't seem to be a touch from Pique and the referee ignores the protests from the crowd.

CHANCE! Pedro delivers an inviting cross from the right but Neymar's initial effort is blocked. The ball falls to Fabregas, who then has a low shot deflected wide. Ajax clear the danger from the corner.

SAVE! Schone receives the ball in plenty of space on the right and he picks out Klaassen, who forces Pinto into a low save with a side-foot volley.

Serero breaks away on the left before cutting past a couple of defenders. His final ball is poor but Mascherano deserves credit for his reading of the situation.

Much better from Barcelona as Fabregas and Iniesta exchange passes before finding Neymar, who strays off-side just moments later to spell the end of the move.

YELLOW CARD! Schone can have no arguments with this early booking as he chops down Neymar after gifting possession to the forward on the halfway line.

Predictably, it's Puyol who has started at right back. Mascherano is partnering Puyol in central defence, but neither have been threatened yet.

Barcelona look like they're beginning to find their passing rhythm but a mistake from Pinto under pressure delights the home supporters as Ajax take control again.

It's a fantastic atmosphere inside the ground early on. Ajax are responding with some impressive signs but no chances yet for either side.

Good start from Ajax, who begin the game with a quick pace in possession.

Ajax will get the game underway in front of their own fans.

Here we go then. The players walk out to a great reception from the home supporters. It could be one of those special European nights in Amsterdam.

Neymar has been in fine form for Barcelona this season but he hasn't yet scored in the Champions League. Will he open his account tonight?

The final preparations have been made in Amsterdam. Both teams are now lining up in the tunnel as kick-off quickly approaches.

PREDICTION: I'm expecting Ajax to really have a go tonight but in the end, Barcelona's quality should be the deciding factor. 3-1 to the visitors.

It's no surprise to see Martino speak about Ajax in that way. They're still one of Europe's biggest clubs despite their recent lack of success in continental competitions and a trip to Amsterdam will always be difficult.

Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino knows how tough tonight's game will be for his side. Speaking to the press earlier this week, he said: "I always considered Ajax as a great team who know what they need to do on the pitch. They are technically skilled and they know how to play. I know that we are going to face a difficult opponent and I am convinced that they can come second in the group."

It's crucial that Ajax start well this evening. They head into the game as underdogs but a strong start will get the fans involved and put the visitors under pressure in a fiery atmosphere.

Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta could change roles as the night goes on, with one playing in the midfield three and the other operating further up the field. Neymar's role is a big one as Barcelona look to deal with Messi's absence.

Jose Pinto starts in goal for Barcelona in the absence of Victor Valdes, Alex Song will play the anchor role in midfield for the visitors, while experienced duo Carlos Puyol and Xavi both return.

No real surprises from Ajax. Lasse Schone has scored twice in his previous two Champions League appearances for the hosts. There's plenty of attacking talent in the team.

BARCELONA: Pinto, Montoya, Piqué, Mascherano, Puyol, Song, Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc, Pedro, Neymar

SUBSTITUTES: Oier, Bartra, Busquets, Patric, Sergi Roberto, Adama and Dongou

AJAX: Cillessen; Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Boilesen; Klaassen, Blind, Serero; Schöne, Hoesen, Fischer

SUBSTITUTES: Vermeer, Poulsen, Van der Hoorn, Andersen, Duarte, Denswil and De Sa

Ajax's fate could be decided tonight. If Milan beat Celtic and Frank de Boer's side lose to Barcelona, it will be the Italian club who finish second in the group.

Remember, you can follow the events in any of the Champions League games by clicking the match in the score box to the right of the page. It's going to be a very important night in Europe, with plenty of qualification questions to be answered.

We've got full team news coming shortly. How will Ajax approach this game this evening?

Celtics host Milan in Group H's other game and Ajax fans will have one eye on the events in Glasgow this evening. If you want to do the same, click here - Celtic vs. Milan

Barcelona are yet to be beaten in Group H but it will be a stern test for the Spaniards tonight. The Amsterdam ArenA usually comes alive on big European nights. Ajax might not be the giants they used to be but they still expect to qualify for the knockout stages.

Barcelona are yet to be beaten in Group H but it will be a stern test for the Spaniards tonight. The Amsterdam ArenA usually comes alive on big European nights. Ajax might not be the giants they used to be but they still expect to qualify for the knockout stages.

Barcelona are already safely through to the next round but top spot is still up for grabs. A victory tonight would secure that achievement. Lionel Messi and Victor Valdes are both missing through injury, but the visitors remain favourites.

It's a big, big night for Ajax. They need a win to keep pace with AC Milan, who are in Glasgow to play Celtic tonight. It's a tough challenge for Ajax but they can produce the huge display in front of their own supporters.

Good evening everyone. Two of the biggest clubs in Europe go head to head in Amsterdam tonight. Make sure you stay with me for live text coverage of Ajax vs. Barcelona.

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Head coach FC Barcelona Gerardo Martino reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between AC Milan and Barcelona at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 22, 2013
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Martino: Barcelona face "difficult" Ajax test
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