Andreas Cornelius netted a second-half winner to help Copenhagen to a deserved 2-1 victory over Ajax in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
The towering striker made the difference with a superb header just before the hour mark after Peter Ankersen’s sublime cross from the right, beating Matthijs de Ligt in the air to leave goalkeeper Andre Onana without a chance.
The Danish champions had previously gone a goal up through Rasmus Falk after just 27 seconds, only for Kasper Dolberg to score a controversial equaliser from what seemed like an offside position, but there would be no denying the home side in the end.
Copenhagen were brimming with confidence heading into Thursday’s encounter following their superb home form over the past 18 months, last conceding in an official game at Telia Parken back in August 2016 and going unbeaten ever since a 3-2 defeat against Jablonec in August 2015.
Ajax, meanwhile, had every reason for optimism as well, having won five of their eight prior Europa League encounters this term and drawing the remaining three.
It was Copenhagen that dominated proceedings, though, and Cornelius’ second-half strike would eventually prove to be decisive.
Copenhagen charged forward right from the start and needed less than a minute to open the scoring through Falk. The midfielder escaped the attention of Lasse Schone after a clever pass from William Kvist and beat Onana with a fine volley from a narrow angle.
The hosts continued to cause Ajax all kinds of trouble early on and Youssef Toutouh could have doubled his side’s lead after a long throw-in from Kvist, blasting a shot just wide of the target after Federico Santander had headed the ball into his path.