Champions League - Ajax and Lyon draw blanks

Wed, 14 Sep 22:44:00 2011

Neither Ajax nor Lyon could break the deadlock as a tight contest ended 0-0 in Group G of the Champions League at the Amsterdam Arena.

Ajax Amsterdam's Boerrigter fights for the ball with Gonalons of Olympique Lyon in Amsterdam - 0

The home team fielded their usual aggressive 4-3-3 formation, with the in-form trio of Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, Miralem Sulejmani and Derk Boerrigter leading the line.

Lyon were a bit more circumspect with their team selection with Bafetimbi Gomis up front by himself and Jimmy Briand playing deeper, but getting forward to support him.

It was Ajax who started the game the brighter and surprisingly, given the passing nature of their game, it was from set-pieces that they looked the most threatening.

On six minutes and then again on 12, Theo Janssen corners found the head of Boerrigter at the near post, but both times the 24-year-old put his efforts wide.

The Dutch team were dominating possession but were not moving the ball quickly enough which meant they had to rely on the delivery from set-plays to conjure up chances as they could not break down the well organised Lyon defence at the pace they were playing.

The Ligue 1 side's first effort on goal was an acrobatic scissors kick on the edge of the box from Bakary Kone, but they had a much better chance to open the scoring on 18 minutes through Gomis.

Michel Bastos broke at real pace down the left from a cleared Ajax corner and picked out his striker eight yards out and unmarked but his volley was straight into the ground and bounced harmlessly over the crossbar when he should have scored.

The France international had another good chance five minutes later as he got on the end of a Briand through ball but dragged his effort well wide.

Ajax re-established their superiority after these chances, but although they had the better of the play, they could not create much by way of goal scoring chances.

This changed in the 36th minute when Sigthorsson produced some good work down the left and swung in a right footed cross right on to the head of Sulejmani six yards out but inexplicably he headed wide.

Corners were again a source of hope for Ajax as the first half drew to a close as another Janssen cross found Jan Vertonghen at the near post, he could not quite flick the ball on target though and it flew wide.

The second half continued as the first had left of, with Ajax enjoying possession but Lyon creating the better chances as eight minutes into the second period Lyon broke at pace with Maxime Gonalons who slid in Bastos who was in on goal on the left of the penalty box, he could only shoot straight at Kenneth Vermeer.

Ajax began to lose their way a little with Lyon enjoying a spell of dominance of their own, but the Dutch champions got back into their stride as Vertonghen made a daring run out of defence, linked up well with Sulejmani and burst into the box, but he scuffed his shot and it was comfortable for Hugo Lloris to hold.

Lloris was tested much more sternly on 64 minutes when Christian Eriksen found some space on the edge of the box, but his curling effort, heading for the top corner was tipped round the post by the France number one.

Frank de Boer's men began to push hard for the win and they had their best chance to get the three points on 76 minutes when Gomis gave the ball away in midfield to Sigthorssen who along with Sulejmani was two on one with the last defender.

The Icelander slid in the Serb but Sulejmani's finish was poor and he just poked it straight at Lloris who stood up well and kept it out from six yards.

This was Ajax's last real chance but Lyon had another great one before the end, and really should have made more of it to potentially claim the crucial away win.

Gregory Van der Wiel slipped in the left-back position on 88 minutes which left Briand with a clear run on goal. The Ajax man was up quickly though and showed great pace to recover and make a saving tackle as Briand was pulling the trigger.

The danger was not over though as Bastos was up in support and it fell to him, he skipped past the onrushing Vermeer, but again before he could release his effort the Dutchman recovered well and lunged to palm it away from him and Van der Wiel cleared.

Phil Haigh - follow on twitter: @philhaigh_ / Eurosport

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