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Ajax keep knockout hopes alive
Demy De Zeeuw and Luis Suarez both hit fine goals as Ajax recorded their first win of Champions League Group G despite playing over half an hour with 10 men against Auxerre in the Amsterdam ArenA.

De Zeeuw and Suarez both scored in the first half as Ajax dominated, but following the sending-off of defender Andre Ooijer after the break the visitors pulled a goal back through Valter Birsa but could not find an equaliser.

Ajax had the first threat on goal but when Suarez crossed from the right De Zeeuw headed over the bar.

The home side went ahead in the seventh minute when De Zeeuw unleashed a powerful rising shot from the edge of the area.

De Zeeuw and Mounir El Hamdaoui had been involved in the build-up but after Olivier Sorin had punched out a shot from Rasmus Lindgren the ball was not cleared and De Zeeuw shot across goal and into the top left corner.

Birsa tried his luck with a shot from long range but the ball was deflected wide for a corner as the visitors tried to get back into the game.

The corner was cleared but when it was headed back in Roy Contout was penalised for using his arm to fend off Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg before heading the ball into the net.

Five minutes before the break El Hamdaoui slid the ball into the channel and Suarez ran on and shot across goal with the outside of his right foot to double the lead.

El Hamdaoui could have extended the lead early in the second half but completely missed the ball when Suarez's free-kick found him unmarked.

But Ajax were reduced to 10 men when Ooijer, who was the last man, pulled back Dennis Oliech on the edge of the area. Birsa made no mistake with the left-footed free-kick which he curled over the Ajax wall to reduce the arrears 10 minutes into the second half.

Stekelenburg then did well to gather Oliech's shot but the Auxerre striker was pulled up for offside anyway as the visitors failed to turn their man advantage into an equaliser to remain bottom of the group without a point.

Oliech was dismissed with five minutes to go when he was booked for a second time for punching a cross over Stekelenburg and into the Ajax goal.

Auxerre substitute Jean-Pascal Mignot was booked and dismissed as he complained to Portuguese referee Olegario Benquerenca about time-wasting while warming up on the sidelines.

# Hengbart: Ajax deserved win

Auxerre defender Cedric Hengbert said that his side did not do enough to get anything out of the game after losing against Ajax.

"In view of our performance in the first-half, we did not deserve a great deal from the game," Hengbert said on Canal+.
 
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