The home team did not face the strongest possible Barcelona side, already certain of qualifying for the last 16, with Lionel Messi, Adriano Correia, Victor Valdes, Cristian Tello, Dani Alves and Jordi Alba absent due to injuries and Alexis Sanchez suspended, a news agency reported.

However, with the likes of Xavi, Pique and Neymar, Barcelona had plenty of quality left. Ahead of the match, Ajax coach Frank de Boer said that he was not afraid to attack Barcelona and his team kept that promise.

Ajax dominated like Barcelona used to do in the first half and was able to score goals as well.

Four minutes from half-time, striker Danny Hoesen, who replaced injured first-choice central forwards Siem de Jong and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, doubled the score for Ajax. After goalkeeper Jos Manuel Pinto stopped a shot by Viktor Fischer, Hoesen was most alert in the rebound.

Ajax started the second half in dramatic fashion. A back pass by Van Rhijn was intercepted by Neymar and Ajax defender Joel Veltman brought down the Brazilian in the penalty area. The hard consequence - red card for Veltman, penalty for FC Barcelona. Xavi converted the penalty in the 49th minute.

With eleven against ten, the second half was obviously for Barcelona, but the home-team was able to hold on to the lead. Five minutes from time, Barcelona claimed another penalty after Niklas Moisander slightly held Pedro, but this time referee Pavel Kralovec did not whistle.

Ajax grabbed its second victory in Group H and stayed in contention for the next phase of the Champions League.

Barcelona, which lost for the first time this season under coach Gerardo Martino, now are on 10 points from five matches. Milan, which beat 3-0 in Glasgow, are second with 8 points and Ajax are third with 7 points and already sure of continuation in the Europa League. Celtic are eliminated.

In the final match round Dec 11, Ajax will play away against AC Milan, while Barcelona host Celtic.


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