Langil keeps Auxerre alive
Substitute Steeven Langil gave Auxerre a 2-1 win over Ajax to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 03/11/10 10:24pm
Steeven Langil came off the bench to give Auxerre a 2-1 home win over Ajax and keep their Champions League hopes alive.
The French side needed a victory having lost their first three Group G games and had a deserved lead at half-time after Frederic Sammaritano claimed a ninth-minute opener.
Ajax fought back in the second half with Luis Suarez heading against the crossbar on the hour mark before the Dutch giants' pressure paid off with Toby Alderweireld heading an 80th-minute equaliser.
But just four minutes later second-half substitute Langil charged clear to slot home a crucial winner.
Although the hosts remain bottom of the group, they are now a point behind Ajax and a late equaliser by leaders Real Madrid at AC Milan means Auxerre are just two off second place and have everything to play for with two games left.
Ajax went close early on through Suarez and Urby Emanuelson but it was Auxerre that opened the scoring following a hopeful cross from the left wing.
Julien Quercia chested down Valter Birsa's high ball for Sammaritano to fire goalwards and his 20-yard strike took a slight deflection off Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen into the bottom corner, leaving Maarten Stekelenburg with no chance.
Demy De Zeeuw fired wide as Ajax had the better of possession in the first half but they failed to hit the target before the break, with Suarez flashing a low strike across goal after beating Dariusz Dudka.
Auxerre pushed for a second, with Birsa twice going close from the edge of the box while Quercia sent a free header well over.
Birsa kept Stekelenburg alert with a glancing header from a teasing Benoit Pedretti free-kick, before Sammaritano again popped up just outside the box to hit a 20-yard strike just wide.
Auxerre remained on top after the break as Cedric Hengbart's volley tested Stekelenburg before Birsa headed wastefully wide.
But Ajax coach Martin Jol urged his side forward and both Gregory van der Wiel and half-time substitute Siem de Jong went close before Uruguay star Suarez headed against the bar from Van der Wiel's right-wing cross.
Suarez and De Zeeuw both fired wide from inside the box as the visitors began to pen Auxerre in their own half, while Mounir El Hamdaoui's 20-yard effort was too close to keeper Olivier Sorin.
Rasmus Lindgren then had a header cleared off the line but moments later Suarez whipped a clearance back into the danger zone for Belgian defender Alderweireld to head the visitors level.
Needing all three points, Auxerre threw caution to the wind and Langil got in behind the Ajax defence, only for Stekelenburg to rush out and block his shot, but Langil converted an almost identical chance moments later.Kamel Chafni had only been on four minutes before cutting in from the right and winning a free-kick. English referee Mark Clattenburg allowed the Moroccan winger to play it quickly, putting Langil clean through, and this time he kept his composure to slot it under the keeper.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||6|
|6||Shots off Target||9|