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UEFA Cup: Lausanne stun Ajax

Massimo Lombardo (right) congratulates Lausanne goalscorer Mazzoni

(Keystone)

A single goal from Lausanne striker Javier Mazzoni was enough to bring the Dutch footballing giants of Ajax to their knees in the first leg of the clubs' UEFA Cup second round tie.

Playing against a side that has won the European Cup on no less than six occasions, Pierre-André Schürmann's side were well worth their 1-0 win.

Long periods of first half possession by the canton Vaud side had seen a number of chances narrowly missed. Polish striker Marcin Kuzba twice flashed the ball just wide of the Ajax post, while a powerful drive from Olivier Baudry forced a diving save out of the Dutch side's keeper, Fred Grim.

With 37 minutes played, though, things turned grim for the entire Ajax team. Kuzba headed a powerful ball back towards Mazzoni, who was waiting on the edge of the area.

With the ball falling behind him, the Argentinian did well to meet it on the turn before smashing his shot past the helpless Ajax keeper.

After seeing another Kuzba shot cleared off the line in first half injury time, Lausanne began the second half apparently more intent on preventing a Dutch equaliser.

Ajax certainly enjoyed more of the ball after the break, but were unable to mount many serious challenges on the Lausanne goal. The Dutch club's chances were then further reduced when winger Wamberto was sent off following a clash with Pape Thiaw.

The closing minutes saw a string of frantic attacks by both sides, but Lausanne held on until the referee's final whistle prompted the most unexpected of parties in the Olympic stadium.

A second leg draw in the Amsterdam Arena would now be enough to send Lausanne through to the third round of the competition. Ajax's historic reputation will ensure that the Swiss team take nothing for granted, but Thursday night's opener surely showed that Lausanne are more than capable of completing the job.

by Mark Ledsom




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