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Ronaldo is back with a bang but Neres gives Ajax renewed hope

Ajax 1 Juventus 1

On target: Ajax’s David Neres hails his equaliser
On target: Ajax’s David Neres hails his equaliser

By Robert Jones

Cristiano Ronaldo returned from injury to score his 125th Champions League goal but Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw by impressive Ajax in the first leg of their quarter-final in Amsterdam.

After beating holders Real Madrid in the previous round, Ajax again took the game to one of Europe's giants and more than deserved the superb equaliser scored by David Neres less than a minute after half-time.

Having missed four games with a thigh injury, Ronaldo was back in the starting line-up and back among the goals, heading in the opener in the 45th minute.

That goal gives the Italians a slight advantage heading to Turin but, after Ajax's 4-1 victory in the Bernabeu last month, Juve still have a lot of work to do.

The visitors had the first attempt when Federico Bernardeschi smashed over the bar in the second minute, but Ajax had most of the better chances.

But Juve had threatening moments, and when a clear opportunity finally arrived inevitably it was Ronaldo who took it.

He had been largely anonymous but played it out to Joao Cancelo on the right and then burst into the centre of the penalty area, where he directed a flying header into the net.

Ajax were level straight from the restart. Neres dispossessed Cancelo and drove into the box before curling home.

Ajax substitute Jurgen Ekkelenkamp came closest to finding a winner in the 83rd minute but his shot lacked power.

Ajax then had to ride their luck as Juve substitute Douglas Costa hit a shot against the post.

Belfast Telegraph


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