Ajax on brink of last 16
Dutch giants on course to finish as runners-up in Group D
Last Updated: November 22, 2011 10:39pm
Christian Eriksen: Ajax attacker unable to help his side find a winning goal
Ajax claimed a favourable goalless draw in Lyon to keep them firmly on course for the next round of the UEFA Champions League.
It was a game in which both sides had chances to claim the victory, with Lyon having the better of the opportunities as Kenneth Vermeer pulled off two quality saves to thwart the French side.
This result effectively rules Lyon out of the competition, with second-placed Ajax three points ahead and with a superior goal difference on their rivals for qualification.
Lyon can still go through if Ajax lose heavily against Madrid and they beat group minnows Dinamo Zagreb by similar margin.
The opening half began with Ajax skipper Jan Vertonghen heading over from a corner on five minutes.
Lyon's Lisandro Lopez brought a good parry from Vermeer before Anthony Reveillere's deflected effort went straight into the clutches of the Ajax goalkeeper on 23 minutes.
Moments later Lisandro looked to have played in Bafetimbi Gomis but the ball ran away from the France striker and the chance was gone.
The best moment of the half arrived on 33 minutes when Jimmy Briand allowed Michel Bastos' pass to run across his body before unleashing a low drive from 25 yards that just went wide.
Lyon committed men forward at the start of the second period but gaps were appearing at the back and Ajax almost profited on 50 minutes.
Christian Eriksen had the freedom of the park to run on goal before laying off for Miralem Sulejmani, whose toe-poke was on target but Hugo Lloris saved with his knee.
Ajax were unlucky not to go ahead on 59 minutes when Sulejmani's low shot took a huge deflection off Aly Cissokho and span over Lloris, but there was just enough momentum to take the ball over the crossbar.
Lyon looked listless in attack and Bastos sought to remedy that on 70 minutes with a shot from the left channel that Vermeer spilled before the Ajax defence mopped up.
Ederson entered the fray for Lisandro on 73 minutes and the Lyon substitute was quickly into the thick of the action, coming close with two chances as the hosts began to show a little more urgency.
Ederson also provided the spark moments later when his run and lay off resulted in Bastos firing in a brilliant curling effort from the left channel which brought a flying one-handed save from Vermeer.
Lyon had a shout for a penalty in the final minute when Ederson went down under a challenge in the area but the referee waved play on, and when the ball broke on the edge of the box Yoann Gourcuff fired in a shot that went agonisingly wide.
The hosts last chance came and went as 90 minutes ticked over when Alexandre Lacazette charged in from the right and fired a shot that looked destined for the top-right corner until Vermeer intervened with another great stop.
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UEFA Champions League
Tue 22nd Nov - Group B
CSKA Mosc0 - 2Lille
Trabzonspor1 - 1Inter
Tue 22nd Nov - Group A
Napoli2 - 1Man City
Bay Munich3 - 1Villarreal
Tue 22nd Nov - Group C
Otelul Galati2 - 3Basel
Man Utd2 - 2Benfica
Tue 22nd Nov - Group D
R Madrid6 - 2Din Zagreb
Lyon0 - 0Ajax
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