Ibrahimovic aims to break Ajax duck

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic heads to Amsterdam in the Champions League on Tuesday hoping to open his goal account against Ajax, the team with which he launched his glittering European career.

The 28-year-old striker has never scored against the Dutch side and coming

into his fifth match between Milan and Ajax, this time in the colours of the Rossoneri, he has yet to find the net in any of those encounters.

Ibrahimovic spent three years in Holland having been bought from hometown club Malmo FF in 2001 at the age of 20 and although he scored 46 goals in 106 matches, he failed to find the net in any of four Champions League encounters against Milan in 2002/03 and 2003/04.

He has since faced his old club three times, twice in the Champions League with Juventus and also in a friendly with Inter Milan, but again couldn’t get his name on the scoresheet.

However, the Swede’s record so far in the red and black of Milan has been excellent with four goals in five matches, including a brace in Milan’s 2-0 defeat of Auxerre in their Champions League opener.

While much attention will be focused on Ibrahimovic – known simply as Zlatan amongst the Ajax faithful – on his return to Amsterdam, for Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri the game will be about sacrifice.

“The match against Ajax will be everything but easy,” he said on Milan’s departure from Malpensa airport.

“It’s always hard to play on their pitch, they’re a young side with great technique.”

“It’s a vital match for us in terms of progression. We need to be careful and to repeat the sacrifice we showed against Genoa (a 1-0 win on Saturday).”

“However, on a technical level we need to improve but I’m sure we will.”

Milan have been far from brilliant this season, picking up just two wins in their opening five Serie A games.

They sit only two points off leaders Inter and Lazio, though, and vice-president Adriano Galliani insists their difficult start is due to the high level of play in Italy.

“We’re improving, the league is close,” he said. “Our league is the one where the leaders have the lowest number of points in Europe, 10 after five matches.

“That means it’s very tight.”

“Everything has changed, the small teams that once came to the San Siro just to defend now come to play and attack.”

“An excellent school has been born of the new wave of coaches. But in any case, the best normally wins the league and we hope it will be us.”

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