UEFA: Ajax wins Apoel playoff to qualify for Champions League

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AFC Ajax fought their way to the Champions League group stages following their victory over Cyprus’ Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday.

The Dutch club had to win the game ahead of Thursday’s draw, despite their impressive run at the last season of UEFA Champions League.

Ajax needed to come through two rounds of qualifiers despite playing at the semi-final earlier this year, when they were beaten by England’s Tottenham Hotspur.

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Summer signing Edson Alvarez headed in Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick for the opening goal.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had a goal disallowed but went on to set up Dusan Tadic, one of last season’s heroes, to take them through.

Aside from Ajax, Club Bruges and Slavia Prague also came through play-offs to reach the group stages.

English clubs which qualified include Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool.

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