Darwin Nunez scored the winner as Portuguese side Benfica beat Ajax in Amsterdam to reach the Champions League quarter-finals. After an entertaining first leg 2-2 draw in Lisbon, the return was far tighter and the visitors had done little to threaten before Nunez struck.
Darwin Nunez scored the only goal as Benfica Knock Ajax of Champions League
The Uruguayan beat Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana to head in a whipped free-kick with 13 minutes to go. Ajax was the better team as they dominated the entire game but could not find the back of the net. Sebastien Haller had the ball in the net early on, but Dusan Tadic was offside in the build-up of the game and so it was ruled out for off-side.
Yet for all the home side’s possession, they struggled to break down a resolute Benfica defense that was well marshaled by veteran center-backs Nicolas Otamendi and former Ajax and Spurs man Jan Vertonghen. Belgian Vertonghen also headed wide from a rare chance for the visitors, who showed little ambition and looked most likely to threaten from a set-piece.
And that was how it turned out, with Nunez popping up with the decisive goal in the tie from Alex Grimaldo’s superb delivery. Brazilian star player who plays for Ajax Antony had looked lively for the Dutch outfit and fired on target from distance before heading another effort over the crossbar as what had been a buoyant atmosphere inside the Johan Cruyff Arena began to turn nervy.
Darwin Nunez’s goal was the difference in the game as the game ended 1-0 in favor of the visitors also on the same night Manchester United was axed out of the Champions League by Spanish La Liga defending champions Atletico Madrid with the same scoreline just like that of Ajax and Benfica 1-0 in favor of the visitors.