Dutch Eredivisie side Ajax simply outplayed the mighty Barcelona in the opening 45 minutes to build up a 2-0 lead after a couple of decent goals in the Champions League encounter. The did face a huge scare early in the second half after seeing a defender get ejected and the resulting penalty kick was put home to make it 2-1.
However, somehow, the brave young side led by the Dutch international Frank De Boer bravely held their own in a game where the fans never stopped cheering and singing for their beloved club. The most amazing aspect of their victory was the fact that they had to play with 10 men for over 40 minutes of game time against one of the most successful offenses in Europe. However, there are some excuses that have to be made in the favor of the Catalans.
Firstly, Victor Valdez did not start in frame for them due to an injury that he is still carrying. Instead, 38-year-old Jose Pinto played, and he is prone to making a few mistakes every now and then. The goals scored today were not his fault, but he did almost send a couple of costly passes towards teammates.
Secondly, Lionel Messi has been out for a short while now, and did not feature at all today. If he had played in place of Cesc Fabregas as center forward, more Barca goals and chances could have been created. Fabregas is not a bad player by any means, but Messi is more of an attack-minded player than the Spaniard.
Ajax was made up of a bunch of young field players who truly played their part today. They were expected to lose by at least two goals but instead, with 10 men, they defeated a Barcelona side who had most of their veterans intact.