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United States
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Transfer Talk
By ESPN Staff

Ajax hold advantage after play-off first-leg

AMSTERDAM, Apr 26 (Reuters) - Ajax Amsterdam beat Groningen 2-0 in the first leg of the Dutch playoff final for a spot in the Champions League third qualifying round on Wednesday.

Markus Rosenberg opened the scoring after nine minutes for Ajax, who had thrashed Feyenoord 7-2 on aggregate in the first round, when a Groningen defender blocked his first attempt but he netted the rebound.

Nourdin Boukhari set up unmarked Greek striker Angelos Haristeas to double the lead 20 minutes from time.

The second leg will be played in Groningen next Wednesday.

In the playoffs for teams that finished fifth to ninth in the Dutch first division standings, Heerenveen will meet Twente Enschede in the final for a berth in the UEFA Cup.

An own goal by Vincent Lachambre after 28 minutes sealed Heerenveen's 1-0 aggregate win over Roda JC Kerkrade.

Twente finished the job at Utrecht with a 3-1 win after a 2-0 home victory on Saturday.