Football / European Round-up: Ajax lose test of strength

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

DENNIS BERGKAMP'S desire to leave Ajax with a European trophy before he moves to Internazionale received a setback last night. The Amsterdam club were holding Auxerre to 2-2 with eight minutes left of their Uefa Cup quarter-final first leg before their French hosts scored twice.

The match will not hold happy memories for Ajax's keeper, Stanley Menzo, who allowed Pascal Vahirua's corner to slip into his net giving Auxerre a 3-2 lead. Menzo had little chance with the fourth, Daniel Dutuel dribbling through the Dutch defence to score.

Ajax had started so promisingly, Stefan Pettersson giving them a third-minute lead with a close-range stab in a goalmouth melee caused by Wim Jonk's troublesome free-kick.

Auxerre reclaimed the initiative to the relief of a raucous 22,000 crowd with a volley from Frank Verlaat, a former Ajax man, and Corentin Martins's dipping free-kick. But Bergkamp then showed why he is off to the San Siro, releasing Marciano Vink with a magnificent pass. Vink's finish was masterful, Bruno Martini sunk by a low drive. Auxerre were a different force after the break - although they left it late.

In the Cup-Winners' Cup, Parma refused to freeze in frosty Prague, returning from Sparta with a smile after their stalemate.

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