Ajax too strong for unlucky LOSC
Returning to Europe's top table for the first time in seven years, LOSC created as many chances as Ajax, but last season's semi-finalists proves more ruthless to seal a 3-0 win.
AFC Ajax 3-0 LOSC
Lille could have had a penalty in the opening few minutes when Victor Osimhen looked to have been pulled back by Joel Veltman in the box, but referee Srdjan Jovanovic ruled out his claim on consultation with VAR (2'). AT the other end, Dusan Tadic found space and crashed an effort against Mike Maignan's crossbar (14') . In an end-to-end opening phase, Osimhen was inches away from finding Jonathan Ikoné, but Veltman cut out the danger - this time fairly (17'). It was Ajax who took the lead, then. Nicolas Tagliafico curled in the cross and Quincy Promes was on hand to head home for 1-0 (18'). Renato, LOSC's summer signing from Bayern Munich, was busy in the midfield but got yellow carded after reacting badly to a Tagliafico foul (39'). Maignan then kept another Promes chance out (42') before his opposite number Andre Onana used his foot to stop Ikoné equalising from close range after a good cutback from Jonathan Bamba (44') and the sides went in for the break with the score at 1-0.
After an even first half, LOSC fans were disappointed to see Ajax pull two clear five minutes after the restart. David Neres sent a low ball in for Edson Alvaraez and the Mexico defender found the corner of Maignan's goal to make it 2-0 (50'). Neres nearly went from maker to taker soon after, but Maignan once again showed why he was called up to the most recent France squad, getting down well to clear the Ajax attacker's shot (56'). Osimhen - scorer of five goals in as many Ligue 1 Conforama appearances this season - then saw Maignan's opposite number Onana keep out his header from an Ikoné cross (58'). Tagliafico - arguably lucky to still be on the pitch - then put the game beyond reach for Lille, breaking into the box and firing home the decisive goal (63'). Christophe Galtier sent Luiz Araujo and Yusuf Yazic on soon after (63') and the attacking reinforcements seems to help. Mehmet Celik was denied by Onana (78') before Yazici hit the Cameroonian's post (89'), but there was no way through and it ended 3-0.
THE PLAYER: Jonathan Ikoné
Ikoné - liie Maignan - was called up for the recent France games against Albania and Andorra, becoming the first player since 2011 to score on his debut for Les Bleus with his goal against the former. He was kept out this evening, but not for the want of trying.
THE STAT: 50/50
This match was much closer than the scoreline would suggest. LOSC had 14 shots on Ajax's goal, compared to their hosts 15 on theirs. If not for Onana's intervention, a share of the points might have been fair, and Les Dogues will be looking forward to showing that their bark can be as bad as their bite when they get Ajax back to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in November.