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  • By Alessandro Schiavone at Johan Cruyff Arena

Ex-Spurs Bergwijn and Ajax lose to Ludogorets but still qualify for Europa League

By Alessandro Schiavone at Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam

Ajax 0-1 Ludogorets (Tissera)

Former Tottenham Hotspur winger Steven Bergwijn’s Ajax slipped to a petty 1-0 defeat against Ludogorets in the final round of the Europa League play-offs at the Johan Cruyff Arena to advance 4-2 on aggregate.

Bergwijn failed to spark and as a result Ajax looked devoid of creativity against the deep-sitting Bulgarians, failing to register a single shot.

In truth, the Eredivisie record champions, who lost Alvarez to West Ham and Timber to Arsenal, looked complacent after all but making sure of matters in Razgrad a week ago.

Yet someone of Bergwijn's talent should have made things happen for Ajax. Instead he wasn't particularly helped by his teammates and often ran into the same dead ends.

The physical winger should have translated his dribbling speed into shot power regardless of how defensively the Bulgarians were set up.

After a passive first-half the boys in green decided to take things to the hosts and came close to making the improbable happen.

Matias Tissera tapped hope the opener in his second attempt after keeper Gorter stopped his initial attempt following a square pass from the right-hand side. With 19 minutes to go and Ajax chasing shadows, two goals to force the game to extra-time didn’t look beyond them.

And in the end it all came down to details. Had Ludogorets’ audacious chip come off in the 76th minute, it would have been a nervy end to the game for the 2019 Champions League semi-finalists on the turf were Lucas Moura took centre stage with a hat-trick all those years ago.

In the end four-time Champions League winners Ajax held on to guarantee their place in next season’s European second-tier competition.

After the game we caught up with Ajax boss Maurice Steijn who told us why the club signed Georges Mikautadze, who was circled by a number of London clubs as well.

He told this outlet: "What I expect from him are goals and assists. He is a player who can play in many different positions.

"Georges can play from the left, from the right, as a number 10 and 9. We will see what is his best position. I spoke to him and in general I like players who can switch position in the team and also during the game.

"So when you have Berghuis, Mikautadze and Bergwijn they are allowed to change positions in the game so hopefully he gives us a lot of goals and assists and that we're enjoying him."

Ajax Amsterdam

12 Gorter 2 Rensch 4 Hato 5 Wijndal 7 Bergwijn 8 Taylor 9 Brobbey 11 Forbs- 18 Medic- 21 Van Den Boomen- 33 Tahirovic


12 Sluga 6 Piotrowski 8 Goncalves 16 Witry 24 Verdon 26 Sundberg 37 Tekpetey 44 Heister 77 Vidal 82 Yordanov 99 Cruz


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