ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Dusan Tadic scored twice in the second half Tuesday to take Ajax to the last 16 in the Champions League for the first time in 12 years with a 2-0 win over 10-man AEK Athens, which fell to a fifth straight loss in the competition.
The Serb defender scored from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after Marko Livaja received a second yellow card for handling the ball. He struck again four minutes later, tapping in an unselfish pass from substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
AEK had managed to keep Ajax at bay thanks to the unyielding center-back duo of Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Marios Oikonomou, but struggled after losing Livaja.
AEK’s best chance came four minutes before the end of the match when a powerful shot on target from Lucas Boye forced an athletic save from Andre Onana.
The game was preceded by violence inside Athens’ Olympic Stadium and in parts of central Athens, mostly involving Greek fans who clashed with local rivals and riot police. Moments before the match started, riot police charged into the stands to break up AEK fans who hurled flares and smoke canisters.
Four-time European champion Ajax returned to the Champions League group stage this season for the first time in four years.