Ibra ensures draw at old club Ajax

AMSTERDAM - Not even a minor injury could rob Zlatan Ibrahimovic of the limelight on his return to Ajax Amsterdam but his trademark strike could only seal a 1-1 draw for enigmatic AC Milan in Champions League Group G on Tuesday.

The tall Swede, who first came to prominence when he played at Ajax between 2001 and 2004, reminded the home fans of why four top clubs have worked so hard to sign him since his time as a raw and unpredictable youngster in the Netherlands.

Ibrahimovic was carrying a knock after receiving an early kick but refused to even contemplate coming off and struck a 37th-minute equaliser to cancel out Mounir El Hamdaoui's opener.

Clarence Seedorf, another Ajax old boy who won the Champions League with the Dutch club before going on to lift the trophy with Real Madrid and Milan, was influential throughout the game having been preferred to the rested Ronaldinho.

The Dutchman dinked over a neat pass for Ibrahimovic who controlled superbly before smashing an awkwardly bouncing ball into the net from close range despite Ajax appeals for offside.

Former Inter Milan striker Ibrahimovic, who signed for Milan from Barcelona on an initial loan in August, has now scored five goals for his new side including his brace in the 2-0 win at home to Auxerre in their group opener.

"We've taken one point, we could have taken three as we had lots of chances but a point away is always good," Ibrahimovic, fast becoming a Milan talisman, told Sky TV.

"I'm playing with a lot of confidence and I want to continue. Clarence gave me a great pass, he played really well."


Massimiliano Allegri's decision to leave out Ronaldinho raised eyebrows but Milan's habitually inconsistent start to the campaign led to the new coach tinkering with his 4-3-3 formation slightly with Seedorf often dropping back to make a 4-4-2.

"No one gives you anything these days, we saw that again tonight," said the 34-year-old Seedorf, who was cheered by the whole Amsterdam Arena when he was substituted late on.

"It's been nice to return to the club where I started."

While Ibrahimovic and Seedorf are Ajax's past, Luis Suarez is very much their present with the Uruguay World Cup striker again a constant menace.

He showed great skill to ghost past Alessandro Nesta and square the ball for El Hamdaoui to blast the hosts ahead on 23 minutes and had other chances of his own.

Ajax coach Martin Jol will be glad of the point after his side lost their opener to Real Madrid, who beat Auxerre in their second game to top the group with Milan two points behind.

Jol will also know the hosts were lucky at the end when Kevin-Prince Boateng's effort was saved by Maarten Stekelenburg while the visitors were angered by the referee asking for a free kick to be retaken despite Filippo Inzaghi being clear on goal.

Milan, for whom Robinho disappointed, next visit Real on October 19 in their third group outing when Ajax host Auxerre.

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