Champions League: Ajax, Milan draw after spectacular finish

Amsterdam, Oct 2 (IANS) Ajax and AC Milan saved their goals for the final minutes to end their Champions League match at 1-1 here.

Ajax dominated the first half of Tuesday's match in the Amsterdam Arena against a lacklustre AC Milan. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson was the first to test the qualities of Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. Viktor Fischer also came close, but his shot went just wide, while a free-kick by Lerin Duarte was saved by Abbiati, reports Xinhua.

Milan, with former Ajax player Nigel de Jong in the starting line-up, did not create any chance in a disappointing first half for the Italians. Milan started much better in the second part, with Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen having to make a save on an attempt by Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo.

Mario Balotelli was quiet for most of the first half, but the Italian striker showed himself in the second. He first got booked for a challenge on Ricardo van Rhijn, but he was close to the opening goal in the 63rd minute when he curled the ball from outside the penalty-box towards the top corner, but his powerful shot was turned onto the crossbar by Cillessen.

In a totally different second half Milan had most ball possession, with Ajax producing only little danger. Ajax defender Niklas Moisander limped off injured in the 77th minute and was replaced by Mike van der Hoorn. With the match wearing on, Balotelli looked stronger and stronger. Five minutes from time Cillessen denied him a goal again.

In the final minutes, Ajax regained some control. A shot by substitute Lasse Schone was saved by Abbiati, but in the rebound Siem de Jong scored. However, referee Jonas Eriksson has whistled for a handball by Schone.

Ajax did score in the 90th minute after Stefano Denswil headed in a corner by Schone. The Ajax defender seemed to have produced the match winning goal, but Milan were awarded a penalty four minutes in injury time after Balotelli was brought down by Van der Hoorn. Balotelli himself silenced the Amsterdam audience by converting the penalty.

Barcelona maintained the lead in Group H beating Celtic 1-0 in Glasgow. Cesc Fabregas produced the winning goal at Celtic Park, where Celtic player Scott Brown was sent off for kicking Neymar.

Barcelona top the group with six points, two ahead of Milan, five ahead of Ajax, while Celtic are still pointless. The next matches in Group H will be on October 22 - AC Milan against Barcelona and Celtic at home versus Ajax.

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