regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

Champions League: Ajax forward scores perfect 10

Sebastian Haller had a mixed time in England after joining West Ham for a club-record fee of £45m from Eintracht Frankfurt in 2019

Reuters Amsterdam Published 09.12.21, 01:04 AM
Sebastian Haller.

Sebastian Haller. Twitter

Ajax Amsterdam coach Erik Ten Hag said no team will enjoy being drawn against them in the Champions League round-of-16 when the pairings are announced on Monday after the Dutch club won all six of their group stage matches.

Ajax completed a clean sweep of Group C with a 4-2 home win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday, with Sebastien Haller becoming only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo (2017-18) to score in all six group games.


With Liverpool also winning six out of six in their group this campaign, the number of teams to have achieved the feat stands at nine, Uefa said.

“It is already difficult to win one match, let alone six in a row,” said Ten Hag, who added that he would not watch the draw for the next round.

“We’ll see what comes out. You also know in advance that it will be tough, but we have gained confidence.

“We know we can achieve something. No team will enjoy being drawing against Ajax. But we also know that we have to be very good to go to the next round.”

Haller, who scored 10 goals in the group, said he was proud of the team’s performances.

“Of course I feel great, but mainly because of the 18 points from six games,” said the French-born Ivory Coast international.

“We can be very proud of what we have achieved in the group stage. As a professional football player, you dream of playing such matches and doing well on this podium. Ten goals is very nice.”

Haller, 27, had a mixed time in England after joining West Ham for a club-record fee of £45m from Eintracht Frankfurt in 2019.

He netted seven Premier League goals in his first season with the Hammers, but managed just three in the top flight last season before his switch to the Netherlands in January.

“This is a club where I can compete in the Champions League and chase titles every season and it’s that winning mentality that suits me,” he told Ajax TV after completing his transfer.

Having previously struck five times in 10 European appearances for Frankfurt, his exploits this season are more remarkable after he was left out of Ajax’s Europa League squad last season following an administrative error.

Haller’s Champions League campaign started with a bang as he became the first player to score four times on his competition debut since the legendary Marco van Basten in 1992, as Ajax beat Sporting 5-1 away from home on matchday one in September.

Haller is set to return in time for the knockout stage of the competition in February after his Africa Cup of Nations duties with the Elephants in January and February.

Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus and Erling Haaland each scored twice in a 5-0 win over Besiktas in their final Group C game.

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