Football: Ajax clean up against Milan

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The Independent Online
MILAN made a bad start to their defence of the European Cup, losing 2-0 at Ajax last night in their opening Champions' League Group D fixture.

The Italians, unbeaten for 11 games in the Champions' League and Cup, were lacking 10 squad members through injury, and rarely threatened the home defence. They held out until half-time, but conceded goals to Ronald de Boer and the Finnish international, Jari Litmanen, after the break. Every touch by Milan's Dutchman, Ruud Gullit, was booed. His former colleague at the San Siro, Frank Rijkaard, was the game's dominant figure.

Bayern Munich, who followed Ajax's hat-trick of victories between 1971 and '73 with a treble of their own between 1974 and '76, began their Group B campaign with a 2-0 defeat at Paris St-Germain. Both goals for the French side came from corners taken by the Brazilian international, Valdo. George Weah, the Liberian striker, bundled in the first, the second was a fine volley struck by Daniel Bravo.

In front a 90,000 crowd, the other Group B game saw a tremendous comeback by Dynamo Kiev, the champions of Ukraine. They recovered from a 2-0 half-time deficit to beat their former Soviet Supreme League rivals, Moscow Spartak, 3-2, Sergei Rebrov netting the winner four minutes from the end.

Last season's beaten finalists, Barcelona, also had to come from behind to beat Galatasaray 2-1 in the Nou Camp. The Swiss international, Kubilay Turkyilmaz, gave the Turks, who are Manchester United's next European adversaries in two weeks' time, a deserved early lead. Gintaras Stauce, Galatasaray's Lithuanian international goalkeeper, kept the Spaniards out until Ronald Koeman beat him with a typically fierce free-kick, then a deflected shot from Guillermo Amor just after the break proved to be the winner.

The 16 teams in the enlarged Champions' League have been placed in four groups of four, with the top two in each group progressing to the quarter-finals in March.

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