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I almost scored as many as Messi – Tagliafico

during the Group E match of the UEFA Champions League between Ajax and AEK Athens at Johan Cruyff Arena on September 19, 2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Ajax Amsterdam defender Nicolas Tagliafico insists he could have scored as many as his international teammate Lionel Messi did the other night when Ajax hosted AEK Athens in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.

The Argentina international scored a brace as the Dutch side defeated AEK 3-0 on the night but Tagliafico believes he could have followed in the footsteps of Messi, who scored a hat-trick when Barcelona thrashed PSV Eindhoven at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night.

“My first goal was the most important because it broke the match open. The second was, I admit, a little lucky,” Tagliafico told UEFA.com, according to FourFourTwo.

“I know I almost scored as many as Messi did last night, though I don’t know if he was watching.”

“It was a difficult game, especially the first half, but that’s what you expect in the Champions League.”

“The coach told us during the break just to keep playing the way we were; he was happy with our first half.”

Donny van de Beek was also on the scoresheet for Ajax, as AEK Athens coach Marinos Ouzounidis bemoaned his side’s lack of character in the second half.

“The timing of the first goal shouldn’t serve as an excuse for our defeat,” he told the media.”

“What got to me most is the disappointment of my players who never really believed they could bounce back from that 1-0.”

“We need to work on our mentality, we need to become more determined to respond. We lack experience, so it was a useful lesson for us.”