Soccer

Lasse Schoene scores as Ajax beats Celtic 1-0

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AMSTERDAM (AP)

Lasse Schoene scored the only goal on Wednesday as Ajax beat Celtic 1-0 to keep the Dutch team's Champions League campaign alive.

Schoene, promoted from midfield to the forward line for the match, rounded off a slick passing move in the 51st minute to secure three points for Frank de Boer's team and end a run of six Champions League matches without a win.

Celtic beat Ajax 2-1 in Glasgow two weeks ago to leave the four-time European champion bottom of Group H with only a single point from three matches and facing elimination from a group that also includes Barcelona and AC Milan.

Barcelona remained top of the group by beating second-placed AC Milan 3-1 on Wednesday. Ajax went third, one point behind Milan.

Ajax dominated possession at the Amsterdam Areana but, as has been the team's problem in recent weeks, it struggled to convert domination into clear-cut chances.

''We didn't make many scoring opportunities, but we kept them under pressure and didn't give anything away,'' captain Siem de Jong said.

When the Amsterdam team did manage to break through the Celtic defense, goalkeeper Fraser Forster came to the rescue.

Forster pushed his case for an England debut with two good saves to smother promising Ajax attacks early in the first half.

First he plunged to his left to parry a curling free kick by Stefano Denswil in the eighth minute and the lanky keeper then dived low to his right to tip a goal-bound De Jong header around his right post.

Ajax coach Frank de Boer shuffled his lineup from the team that lost to Celtic two weeks ago, moving De Jong to center forward with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson on the left wing and Schoene promoted from midfield to the right flank.

The rejigged line-up kept Celtic at bay throughout the first half and the visitors' first clear chance didn't come until the 50th minute when Beram Kayal ran from the halfway line untroubled by an Ajax defender - only to shoot wildly over the bar with just goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen to beat.

Where Celtic failed, Ajax was clinical at the other end just a minute later when Schoene combined with De Jong and Thulani Serero in a series of quick passes before sliding the ball under Forster to give Ajax the lead.

It was the Danish midfielder's second goal against Celtic in this season's Champion's League after he struck in injury time in Ajax's 2-1 defeat in Glasgow.

Only after going a goal down did Celtic begin to attack with intent. Anthony Stokes had a shot saved and Cillessen also saved a Kris Commons free kick.

De Jong came close to doubling Ajax's lead in the 86th minute but Forster saved at the near post and then saw Stefano Denswil's header hit the post from the ensuing corner before Ajax fought off a last-gasp offensive by Celtic.

''We had some great attacks, but also showed the will to take these three points at all costs,'' said De Boer.

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