Ronaldo nets 125th Champions League goal as Juve draw at Ajax

Reuters  PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW

Reuters PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW

Ronaldo has been allowed to make the present era of the competition his own personal plaything but on a crisp, spring evening in the Dutch capital he found the future much less malleable.

A typically assured Cristiano Ronaldo header wasn't enough to see off a talented Ajax side, as they showed the Italian champions that they won't be pushovers in The Old Lady's pursuit of their first Champions League in 26 years.

"Ajax have great qualities".

"It is not the result you hope for, but it is a result.

His timing and movement is different to everyone else's, there's nothing you can do about it", said coach Massimiliano Allegri.

For example, Arsenal, who qualified for the competition nearly every season under former manager Arsene Wenger, have only scored 51 goals in Champions League knockout games.

It would be a 28th trophy in four countries for the five-time Ballon d'Or victor, a haul which includes five Champions League, and the Euro 2016 title with Portugal.

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Showing increasing confidence after eliminating three-time defending champion Real Madrid in the last 16, Ajax produced more chances early on but then let Ronaldo waltz through its defence to head in a cross in the 45th minute.

Ajax were without the suspended Noussair Mazraoui, and made Joel Veltman the only change from their 4-1 win in Madrid last month.

They were caught off guard at the start of the second period, however, as David Neres found the leveller that Ajax's enterprising play deserved. In a lot of the phases of the game, we were better. "In the end 1-1 is not so bad", De Jong told UEFA.com.

But Juve had threatening moments, and when a clear opportunity finally arrived inevitably it was Ronaldo who took it.

Ronaldo headed home Joao Cancelo's cross on the stroke of half time to add to his tally as the competition's all-time top goalscorer.

Szczesny swatted away a blast from Jurgen Ekkelenkamp before Costa hit the woodwork at the other end with a long, angled shot and Onana palmed away another unsafe effort from Cancelo.

Ajax are still right in the tie, but left-back Nicolas Tagliafico will be suspended for the return after being booked here.

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