Amsterdam: Ajax came from behind to stun Manchester City 3-1 after goals from Siem de Jong, Niklas Moisander and Christian Eriksen on Wednesday, leaving the English club last in Group D of the Champions League. Borussia Dortmund lead the group with seven points after beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the other game. Madrid is a point back. Ajax is next with three points, two ahead of Man City.
Ajax put the visitors under pressure in the opening minutes, pinning them on their half, but City scored against the run of play from a counterattack in the 22nd minute. James Milner received a long-range pass from Micah Richards and shifted it out to an unmarked Samir Nasri, who slotted home easily.
The youthful Ajax team initially appeared demoralized with City staying in control for the rest of the half until De Jong equalized just before halftime. With little space to spare, he slammed the ball past England goalkeeper Joe Hart from a centring pass. City looked sharper after the interval. But Moisander rose perfectly at the near post to meet a corner from Eriksen, nodding the ball inside the far post to give the home side a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute.
"It's actually what we had agreed beforehand, that we would come out a bit for the corners because there's room there," De Jong said. "And those guys (City's defenders) are just so tall." Eriksen, an attacking midfielder playing out of position up front, evaded several defenders to score when his shot deflected off Gael Clichy and into the net in the 68th. "It was a poor shot but fortunately it went in," Eriksen said.
City manager Roberto Mancini brought on Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli in search of goals. But despite a frenetic effort, City rarely threatened while its defenders appeared disorganized and fractious. Clichy was instructed to switch sides, and fellow defenders Aleksander Kolarov and Yaya Toure were seen bickering.
"We wanted to have one player in the hole," Mancini said of his decision to switch to three defenders and an extra attacker. "If someone wants to take this an excuse then OK ... I prepared the players badly for this game. This defeat is my fault. " Ajax coach Frank de Boer said his team earned the victory, not because of any mistakes by City. "They had their chances, too," he said. "We were able to play out own game. With our wingbacks we were dominant, and they couldn't find an answer for that."