Stylish Ajax make untroubled progress

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The Independent Online
Ajax Amsterdam 1 Borussia Dortmund 0

Despite squandering glorious chances at the start of each half, injury- weakened Ajax eased their way past Borussia Dortmund last night with Kiki Musampa's 75th-minute goal securing a victory set up by the European champions' 2-0 victory in Germany a fortnight ago.

Dortmund were expected to come at Ajax from the whistle but a high-quality opening 10 minutes by the home team kept the Germans on the hop.

Jari Litmanen back from injury, should have scored the goal that would have settled this quarter-final inside five minutes. Set loose on the goalkeeper by Ronald de Boer's excellent diagonal ball and Nordin Wooter's persistence in the area, the Finn sent his shot soaring over the bar.

In the second half it was Nwankwo Kanu who was profligate, heading at Stefan Klos after Wooter had again carved out an opening with his pace and delicate cross from the right.

The Nigerian missed another chance a few minutes later when he blasted over the bar after Litmanen sent him through.

Kanu made amends soon afterwards by supplying the ammunition for Musampa to fire decisively past the advancing Klos.

Well though Ajax's inexperienced youngsters, like Musampa, played, it is questionable whether this line-up, missing Kluivert, Blind, Reiziger and George from the team that took Dortmund apart in the first leg, has enough wit and thrust to put away tougher opposition.

Dortmund were short on ideas. For all the midfield effort of Carsten Wolters and Michael Zorc the shooting was mostly from long range and wayward.

Ajax missed Patrick Kluivert's finishing and the solidity that Danny Blind and Michael Reiziger give them, and Edgar Davids was never able to make his usual impact in attack.

Now safely in the semi-final Ajax will still be watching the doctors reports in the coming weeks with great anxiety.

Ajax: Van der Sar; Silooy; F De Boer , Bogarde; Davids; Scholten, Litmanen (Lanzaart, 87), Musampa; Wooter, Kanu, R De Boer.

Borussia Dortmund: Klos; Kohler, Julio Cesar, Kree; Freund; Tretschok (Reinhardt, 62)), Wolters (Moller, 61), Zorc, Ricken; Chapuisat (Sosa, 79), Riedle.

Referee: V Krondl (Czech Rep).

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