AMSTERDAM (AP) — Ajax hammered APOEL Nicosia 4-0 on Wednesday to advance to the Europa League by finishing third in Group F of the Champions League.
Both sides had failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League before the match at Amsterdam Arena. Barcelona topped the group by beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 at Camp Nou.
Denmark midfielder Lasse Schone scored either side of halftime, with his first coming from the penalty spot, and Davy Klaassen headed the third after a mazy run by teenage winger Ricardo Kishna in the 53rd. Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik made it 4-0 in the 74th to give Ajax its first Champions League win of the season and hand the Cypriots their second straight 4-0 defeat.
"We had trouble breaking them down in the first half," Schone said. "Luckily we scored just before the break and played out the second half very well."
APOEL defended staunchly in the first half, hoping to score on the break to secure the win it needed to advance to the Europa League. But Schone finally broke the resistance, scoring a penalty with the last touch of the half after Marios Antoniades had brought down Milik. Schone doubled the lead in the 50th, firing home after Milik had a shot blocked.
Three minutes later Kishna weaved past APOEL's crumbling defense and crossed from the left for Klaassen's header. Milik finally got on the score sheet with his first Champions League goal after a Klaassen pass split the defense again.