2018-19 UEFA Champions League, Group Stage
  • Nicolás Tagliafico (46', 90')
  • Donny van de Beek (77')

Nicolas Tagliafico's double guides Ajax to comfortable win over AEK

Nicolas Tagliafico scored two second-half goals as Ajax marked their return to the Champions League group stages with a 3-0 victory over AEK Athens on Wednesday.

Tagliafico scored in the 46th and 90th minutes, and Donny van de Beek scored in the 77th, for Ajax, who claimed victory in their opening group-stage match for the first time since 2002.

Ajax had more of the ball in the opening period, though neither side created many clear-cut chances.

Andre Simoes headed wide for AEK from a corner with the best opportunity, but Ajax were much improved after the break.

They forged ahead within a minute of the restart as a corner was cleared to David Neres just outside the box, and his ball into the penalty area was volleyed into the net by Tagliafico.

He might have had a second when his header was stopped by goalkeeper Vasilios Barkas, who thrust out an arm when Tagliafico seemed sure to score.

Van de Beek, who came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute, had a goal ruled out for offside, but 14 minutes from time, he volleyed home a second with an excellent finish.

He was teed up by midfielder Dusan Tadic, who continued his superb start to the season for Ajax with a pinpoint cross.

The victory was sealed when Tagliafico netted with a 25-yard shot from a tight angle.