The Nigeria international only returned from an injury layoff, but he was fit enough to cause the Amsterdammers loads of troubles
Ajax Amsterdam defender Daley Blind has accepted the responsibility for the mistake that led to Napoli’s fourth goal in the thrilling 4-2 loss at the Stadio Diego Maradona Stadium on Wednesday.
Napoli sealed a fourth UEFA Champions League win of the season to book an early spot in the knockout stage.
After recovering from a hamstring strain he sustained on matchday one against Liverpool, Victor Osimhen came off the bench to net Il Partenopei’s fourth goal against Ajax.
The goal was a product of Osimhen’s press at its finest.
With 89 minutes on the clock, a simple pass arrived at Blind’s feet. The Dutch defender had the option of passing to the keeper to recycle. But Osimhen covered 20 yards in half a second to steal the ball off the feet of the hesitant former Manchester United star and roll it into an unguarded night.
The goal was Osimhen’s first in the Champions League for Napoli since he joined from Lille over two tears ago.
And it confirmed Ajax’s disappointing early exit from the competition.
Critics have aimed at Blind for making a mess of the Osimhen situation despite his years of experience.
Former Chelsea star Khalid Boulahrouz did not mince words in planting the blame of the episode solely on Blind’s doorstep.
“I can’t imagine he didn’t see Osimhen coming,” Boulahrouz said.
“He already decided that the ball should go to the keeper; he wanted to see to that. Then you would think: then tap it to the keeper. But he wanted to cut out the player who was putting pressure on him.”
And Blind agrees that he does not need to be reminded who should take responsibility for the mistake.
On RTL, as per Voetbal4u, Blind said, “I can see the striker coming; I had that in the first half too.
“Then I hesitated to pass it. Now I wanted to look ahead. That’s just a personal mistake, I know very well; you don’t have to tell me.”
With and without Osimhen, Napoli have won 11 of 13 games played in Serie A and Champions League combined, drawing the other two and scoring an astonishing 39 goals.