Valencia's dedication to the cause
Valencia's game in Amsterdam was one of those that the fans will keep in their memories for years. Ninety-plus minutes, playing for all or nothing, because Chelsea, as expected, took care of Lille. Valencia resisted Ajax' intense attacking, maintaining their excellence up front with an ability to press that has not been seen much. Some lapses at the back still, yes. During the first half, when Valencia got past the press, either with a long ball or building through Parejo, they were a threat. And from one of those came the goal that would crown them group champions, a finish from Rodrigo after many were involved in the attack.
Jaume the great
That goal added an obvious nervousness to the Ajax players up until the break, at which point they calmed down. They came out better, more determined, and pushed Valencia back into their own area. But Celades' team did not back down. They continued with their orderly defence, although Jaume had to intervene on a number of occasions. As the second half moved into the latter stages the game was rushed, but with a goal on their side, this was always likely to work against Ajax who pushed on. The worst moment came very close to the end, when Gabriel got entangled in a row and left his teammates a man down. But among those ten was Jaume, a great goalkeeper.
Atleti in need of goals
To complete the full Spanish contingent we need Atlético to do the job against Lokomotiv in the Metropolitano. It should work out fine. Atleti only have to match what Leverkusen do when they face Juve, the group champion, and Lokomotiv arrive having already been eliminated, and with one foot on holiday. Atleti, though, are having an unexpected shortage of goals and this is affecting how we see them. It's been five hours since they last scored, a total of 59 sterile efforts on target. Simeone has worked hard on this aspect of their play this week, something that has dominated all the conversations. Today there is an assumption that the goals required to progress will come.
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