The Godenzonen looked set to exit Europe, but Akpom came up clutch for them
Nigerian striker Chuba Akpom scored a brace for Ajax to help them to a 3-1 victory over AEK Athens in their final group stage game of the Europa League, Soccernet.ng reports.
Akpom was on the starting lineup when Ajax welcomed AEK Athens to the Johan Cruyff Arena in their final group game of this season’s Europa League.
The former Dutch champions had already been knocked out of the Europa League, but a win would guarantee them a place in the Conference League. They did not have to wait for long, as Akpom scored the opener for them in the fourth minute, jumping highest to score a header. According to Opta, Akpom’s goal was the fastest home goal for Ajax since Luis Suarez’ in 2009.
4:02 – After just 4 minutes and 2 seconds, Chuba Akpom scored @AFCAjax' earliest home goal in major European competition since Luis Suárez against Dinamo Zagreb in October 2009 (2 minutes and 20 seconds). Choo-choo. pic.twitter.com/Pgq8e3zsns
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) December 14, 2023
Levi Garcia pulled one back for AEK Athens in the 11th minute, but Kenneth Taylor scored in the 20th to put Ajax back in front.
The Dutch kings had other good chances to score, but they failed to convert and saw our their 2-1 lead into the break.
The second half also had a lot of excitement, as both teams pushed hard to get the win. However, it was Akpom who on the scoresheet again in the 56th minute. The Nigerian attacker received a nice pass from Arjany Martha on the right of the attack. He had a marker on him, but he drifted into the box and struck a shot that just crept under the AEK Athens goalie and nestled in their net.
Akpom had other chances to score, but he fluffed his lines. However, it did not matter much as Ajax ran out with the 3-1 win. The victory takes them to the Conference League, UEFA’s third tier competition.