Ajax, Lyon in opening stalemate
Ajax and Lyon opened their UEFA Champions League campaigns with a goalless draw at the Dutch giants' Amsterdam ArenaA on Wednesday. The two sides last crossed swords in the 2002/03 season's opening fixtures, with Ajax winning 2-1 at home and then 2-0 in France.
Lyon, the seven-time former French titleholders, went into this Group D tie missing influential forward Lisandro with a sprained ankle. The French visitors' captain and right back Anthony Reveillere was featuring in his 66th Champions League appearance, and in contrast Ajax's 19-year-old Danish defender Nicolai Boilsen was having his first taste of Europe's premier club competition.
Ajax, four time European champions and topping the table in their domestic league, fielded three new recruits in Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Derk Boerrigter up front, and Theo Janssen behind.
Once Lyon found their stride they were the more likely side to break the deadlock in the first half, with Bafetimbi Gomis and Michel Bastos causing most difficulties for the home side's defence.
The game lost some of its intensity after the break, with Lyon playing largely on the counter attack. A late flurry of activity in the Ajax box came to nothing, with a share of the spoils a logical outcome as both teams had their respective keepers Hugo Lloris and Kenneth Vermeer to thank for maintaining the status quo.
Lyon, perennial features of the knockout stages, having made it past the group stage in each of the past eight seasons, are placed second in the table, after Real Madrid's 1-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb.