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Ajax coach Ronald Koeman has said that his side deserved to qualify for the second group stage of the Champions League after they were beaten 2-1 in Amsterdam by Internazionale but still finished second in their first-round group.

Inter topped the group, while Ajax finished level with Lyon on eight points, but had the better head-to-head record. Lyon drew 1-1 with Rosenborg.

“We knew that anything was possible in our group,” Koeman said.

“We knew it would be close and that was proved. But when you take six points against Lyon, you deserve to go on.

“It is important for a young team like Ajax to play six more matches at this level. Besides that it is also important for Dutch football in general because it has been a while since a Dutch team qualified for the second round.”ÿ

Inter coach Hector Cuper was impressed by Ajax’s first-half performance but felt his side did enough to merit the victory.

Cuper said: “Ajax kept the ball in our half and that is why we failed to attack before the break. And when our strikers had the ball they acted without any belief. In the second half we played much better and two brilliant moments from Crespo gave us exactly what we wanted. Ajax made quite some impression the way they played even without three important players like (Cristian) Chivu, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and [Jari] Litmanen.” ÿ

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