Ten-man AC Milan scraped into the knockout stages by resisting an all-out Ajax assault to secure a goalless draw at the San Siro along with group winner Barcelona who thrashed Scottish side Celtic 6-1 at the Nou Camp.
The match was also shadowed by the fact that three Ajax supporters were taken to hospital after being stabbed during street fights before the goalless draw. One supporter suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries after being stabbed in the stomach.
The Serie A giants needed a point to ensure second place in Group H ahead of Frank de Boer’s Ajax, and they started brightly in their pursuit of the victory that would rubber-stamp their progress. However, Riccardo Montolivo’s early dismissal left the Rossoneri playing at a disadvantage for over 68 minutes and goalkeeper Christian Abbiati had to draw on all his European experience to keep the desperate Dutch side at bay.
Though, it has to be side that Ajax lacked the kind of intensity that they displayed at home against Barcelona and also looked fazed to some extent by the opportunity presented to them with the early dismissal. Milan clinched onto a 0-0 score and weathered Ajax’s attacks with a man advantage for more than an hour in the game and deservedly went through to the next round leaving Ajax a place in the Semi-finals.
In the other match, it was a complete riot by Barcelona at the Nou Camp. In what was one of the best attacking performances by Barcelona since Gerardo Martino took charge, the Catalan club scored half a dozen goals against the Scottish side. Led by Neymar, who scored his first Barça hat-trick, Barcelona also got goals from Gerard Pique, Pedro and Cristian Tello. In the late stage of the game Georgios Samaras gave Celtic a consolidation goal.
The Celtic fans would rather forget this match as early as possible but for Barca fans this was a great way to boaster their ambitions in the Champions league this season.
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