November 27, 2018 / 9:19 PM / 17 days ago

Tadic double sends Ajax into Champions League last 16

ATHENS (Reuters) - Ajax Amsterdam reached the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2005-06 after a Dusan Tadic brace gave the Dutch side a 2-0 win at 10-man AEK Athens in a match marred by crowd trouble at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group Stage - Group E - AEK Athens v Ajax Amsterdam - OAKA Spiros Louis, Athens, Greece - November 27, 2018 Ajax's Maximilian Wober, Frenkie de Jong and team mates celebrate at the end of the match as AEK Athens' Marios Oikonomou looks dejected REUTERS/Costas Baltas

The result left former European Cup winners Ajax second in Group E with 11 points from five games, two behind Bayern Munich who thrashed third-placed Benfica later.

AEK, who had Marko Livaja sent off in the second half, are bottom without a point and have been eliminated from European competition after suffering a fifth straight defeat.

Riot police clashed with Ajax fans in the stadium before the match and some supporters had blood pouring down their faces.

Flares were also thrown inside the stadium.

Tadic fired Ajax ahead with a 68th-minute penalty and sealed the win four minutes later after the visitors, who have won four titles in Europe’s elite club competition, dominated their subdued rivals.

Although they enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession, Ajax failed to create any chances before midfielder Donny van de Beek hit the post in the 63rd minute after Tadic’s clever cut-back from the left.

English referee Michael Oliver awarded Ajax a penalty after Livaja handled a free kick and sent off the Croatian with a second yellow card before Tadic calmly converted the spot kick.

With AEK reeling, the visitors delivered the killer blow as substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar squared the ball to Tadic and the Serbia forward made no mistake from eight metres after home keeper Vasilios Barkas was caught out of position.

AEK were denied a consolation in the closing stages when visiting keeper Andre Onana produced a superb save to keep out a thundering Lucas Boye shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis

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