After surprise start, Dusan Tadic stars for Ajax in CL

·2 min read

HERNING, Denmark — Dusan Tadic scored one goal and set up another to lead Ajax to a 2-1 win over FC Midtjylland in the Champions League on Tuesday, a day after being seemingly ruled out of the game by his coach after a positive test for the coronavirus.

Tadic was one of a raft of senior players — including goalkeeper André Onana and midfielders Davy Klaassen and Ryan Gravenberch — not included in a reduced 17-man group that travelled to central Denmark on Monday because of the positive tests. They did travel in a separate party that evening, though, and were allowed to play after supplying a negative test ahead of the match.

Tadic set up a goal for Antony after just 50 seconds with a neat touch and pass, then scored himself off an indirect free kick from the edge of the six-yard box in the 12th after Midtjylland goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen picked up a back-pass.

Anders Dreyer pulled a goal back for the Danish champions in the 18th minute, cutting inside from the right and curling left-footed past Onana from just inside the penalty area.

Klaassen came off the bench for the second half to help Ajax close out its first win after three games in Group D.

“This game could have been easier, and we had to fight until the end,” Ajax coach Erik ten Hag said. “I have to give my compliments to the team that after a difficult preparation, we won this game.”

Ajax — a four-time European champion — moved into second place, above Atalanta on goal difference. They are five points behind Liverpool and appear to be in a two-way fight to join the English champions in the round of 16, with Midtjylland having lost all three of its games on its debut in the group stage.

At least Brian Priske's team has a goal to show for its efforts so far in the group stage.

“We played really, really well in the first half if you take away the first 15 minutes," Priske said, "but the last 25-30 minutes we played well, won our duels and made it difficult for Ajax.

“Second half, it was difficult to create chances. They have the experience.”

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