Robert Lewandowski was the hero as Borussia Dortmund left it late to take a 1-0 win over Ajax in their Champions League group stage opener.
Dortmund were by far the superior side however when Mats Hummels missed a spot kick for the German champions in the 56th minute, it looked as if their chance to take the win had passed. Lewandowski had other ideas as he continued to make runs into the box and finally his efforts paid off.
Capitalising on some sloppy Ajax defending he found himself in possession just yards from goal in the 86th minute and he didn't waste the chance, coolly slotting his shot past a helpless Kenneth Vermeer in the Ajax goal.
Dortmund started the brighter of the two, Lewandowski in particular a real live wire down the left hand touchline. It was he who had the first clear-cut chance, when after by passing two Ajax defenders he cut a low ball back across the box, but there were no Dortmund players there to attack it and it trickled harmlessly wide.
This sparked Ajax into life and they could have taken the lead when Ryan Babel picked up a loose ball in the middle of the field. He hit a short pass to Christian Eriksen who looked like he must score, but Roman Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal was up to the challenge.
Dortmund answered this with a chance from Mario Goetze. The striker found himself in possession six yards from goal and could well have had a penalty as some shirt tugging by Niklas Moisander went unnoticed by the referee. It mattered little as his shot was not up to much.
The game ebbed and flowed for the majority of the half, but neither side looked like breaking the deadlock. Ajax had one further chance when Derk Boerrigter latched onto a through ball but he was denied the chance to shoot when Weidenfeller raced out of his goal to slide the ball from his feet.
The second half began much the same as the first with lots of Dortmund pressure. On 47 minutes, Ajax had a good chance to score but Ryan Babel's shot wasn't enough to trouble Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal.
The best chance of the game fell to Hummels in the 56th minute when he stepped up to take a penalty following a clumsy tackle on Goetze by Ricardo van Rhijn. Hummels stepped up and attempted to side-foot his penalty to the left of Vermeer, but there was so little pace on the shot that it barely troubled the Dutch keeper.
Dortmund kept their heads up and continued to attack, however as time ticked on it looked as if both sides were happy with the stalemate. Just as the pace seemed be gone from the game Lewandowski pounced, sealing the win and putting Dortmund in a great position to travel to Manchester City in their second group outing.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Robert Lewandowski – Dortmund: Kept plugging away all night and while his efforts were sometimes a bit headless, he got himself in the right position when it mattered to score the only goal of the game.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller 8, Subotic 7, Hummels 6, Piszczek 7, Schmelzer 7, Kehl 6, Gündogan 6, Götze8 , Reus 7, Blaszczykowski 8, Lewandowski 8.
Ajax: Vermeer 8, Alderweireld 6, Moisander 6, Blind 7, van Rhijn 6, Poulsen 7, Eriksen 8, de Jong 6, Sana 7, Boerrigter 8, Babel 8.
- Sports & Recreation
- Robert Lewandowski
- Borussia Dortmund