Jan Hoeksema

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The Ajax women failed to pull off a huge stunt in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday evening. After losing the first leg 0-3 to Chelsea at home, the team from Amsterdam managed a draw in London: 1-1. The goal scorer on behalf of Ajax was Chasity Grant.

Ajax coach Suzanne Bakker made one change compared to the lost match in Amsterdam. Captain Sherida Spitse returned from a suspension and started again in the heart of the defense. Isa Kardinaal therefore moved to the right back position, leaving Milicia Keijzer on the bench.

At the start of the match, Ajax seemed to have hope for a miracle. It became dangerous within a few minutes with a header from Spitse, but her effort ended up on the roof of the goal. Soon afterwards, Chelsea came close to scoring, but Erin Cuthbert shot just wide.

Within half an hour, Ajax would have two major opportunities. Romée Leuchter shot narrowly wide, while an incorrect kick by the Chelsea goalkeeper ended up on the post via Tiny Hoekstra's arm.

In minute 34 Ajax received the apparent final blow. After Amsterdam's sloppy loss of ball in midfield, only one pass from Gure Reiten was needed to put Mayra Ramírez face to face with Regina van Eijk. The Colombian shot in through the goalkeeper's legs: 1-0. The same Ramírez had a good opportunity before the break, but she missed it.

The first danger also came from Ajax in the second half, but attacker Reuchter missed the ball. In minute 65 the Amsterdam team still scored. With a splitting pass, Hoekstra put winger Grant face to face with the London closing post: 1-1.

Chelsea had enough and slowed down. Ajax still wanted to attack, but, except for one moment, was no longer able to create good opportunities. The last big danger came from Leuchter, but goalie Zecira Musovic made a stylish save. The draw means Ajax is finished in the Champions League, while Chelsea can report to the semi-finals of the tournament.

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