Ajax alive with Dinamo romp
Ajax assured themselves of a top-three finish in UEFA Champions League Group D after they fired four unanswered goals past Dinamo Zagreb.
Goals by Gregory van der Wiel, Miralem Sulejmani, Siem de Jong and Nicolas Lodeiro capped an evening at the Amsterdam ArenA where the Eredivisie side were in complete control. Christian Eriksen was influential and showed great understanding with Derk Boerrigter as Ajax moved second in the group, three points ahead of Lyon and three behind leaders Real Madrid.
Tonight's result means they are assured of European competition after Christmas, in the UEFA Europa League at the very least.
It was a scrappy start to the game although Ajax were the quicker to settle, Theo Janssen winning a corner in the first minute before lashing a shot over the bar. Sime Vrsaljko's cross was parried by Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer and from the resulting corner Jerko Leko was blocked by Derk Boerrigter.
Ajax were beginning to dominate although they had little to show for their possession until the 20th minute when Van der Wiel made the breakthrough. Eriksen's back-heel fooled Luis Ibanez and found Van der Wiel who hit the ball into the roof of the net.
The Amsterdam side doubled their lead five minutes later when De Jong's perfectly weighted through ball allowed Sulejmani to round Ivan Kelava with his first touch and slot into an empty net. De Jong was almost the provider again as he whipped a ball in towards goal, but Boerrigter just failed to make contact.
Jan Vertonghen fired in a fierce shot and Domagoj Vida almost put into his own net from Sulejmani's cross but goalkeeper Ivan Kelava intervened. However, Dinamo threatened when Ante Rukavina played a ball through the defence and goalkeeper Vermeer rushed out to pounce on the ball at the feet of Mateo Kovacic.
Toby Alderweireld's header clipped the post from Eriksen's corner as Ajax ended the half completely in control. Zagreb had the first attempt after the break, though, with Ibanez unleashing a long-range strike which Veneer initially spilled before smothering.
Boerrigter whipped the ball across goal after a one-two with Eriksen and Vertonghen's goalbound shot was deflected for a corner. Such was Ajax's dominance further goals were inevitable and the third came through De Jong in the 65th minute. Again Eriksen was involved, flicking the ball across which De Jong slotted into the bottom left-hand corner.
Lodeiro then got Ajax's fourth in injury time, taking one touch from Lorenzo Ebecilio's cross before steering the ball home.