Ajax get a huge away win against Spurs in the Champions League semi-final first leg to carry on their unbelievable run in the competition!
Spurs vs Ajax was the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals this with Liverpool going to Barcelona on Wednesday night. There has been a big build up for this game, with both sides being the surprise packages at this stage of the competition. Both sides have also had big wins to get here, Ajax beating Real Madrid AND Juventus, with Spurs knocking out Man City in the quarters.
In terms of experience in the competition, Ajax have fare more than their opponents. The Dutch side have won the competition four times, the most recent of which was in 1995. They also reached the final in 1996 but were beaten by Juve on penalties. Spurs have never won the competition in their history. Their best finish was in 1961/62 where they lost to Benfica in the semis. However, in terms of experience in the team now this Ajax team is very young. The average age of the team fielded last night was 25 years old. The youngest there has been in a Champions Leauge semi-final for six years.
Ajax had a full-strength squad out but Spurs didn’t. They were missing their main man Harry Kane through injury, as well as Harry Winks. Son was out for this leg due to a yellow card suspension from the game before
Ajax controlled the game from the beginning and looked like the home side! Spurs were penned back into their own half and couldn’t get out or get the ball. This early pressure from Ajax paid off after 14 minutes. Spurs were too slow to close down the Ajax attack and Ziyech found himself with space on the edge of the box. He picked out van de Beek who was between Vertonghen and Rose. The young Dutch midfielder found himself one on one with Lloris. After taking his time and waiting for Lloris to move van de Beek just passed the ball into the bottom right corner.
It appeared this still didn’t wake up the home side as Ajax nearly scored again. A fantastic passing move carved open their defence one again and the ball was at the feet of goalscorer van de Beek. He had a tight angle when it came to scoring but still took it on. Lloris got down well to save and Ajax got a corner. Replays showed that Neres was in the box unmarked and a simple pass from van de Beek and Ajax would have been 2-0 up inside 25 mins.
Things got worse for Spurs minutes later. Vertonghen and Alderweireld went to head the same ball with Vertonghen coming off worse. It appeared he had broken his nose and so went off to change his kit due to blood being on it. When he came back on he signalled straight away he wasn’t ok to carry on. When he came off the pitch his legs gave way and he appeared to faint from the collision.
Upon the stroke of half time Spurs had their best chance of the half. A ball in from Trippier found Alderweireld. His looping header looked goal bound but unfortunately, it didn’t drop enough and went just over.
The second half was much better for Spurs. They came out with intent and took control of the game. However, for all their control and possession they failed to really create many good chances. Dele Alli had the best of them. A volley early into the half went straight into the arms of Onana. Alli had another chance later on. Another Trippier ball in and another header. However, the England midfielder couldn’t get his head over the ball and it went over.
Spurs were lucky not to go two down. A poor clearance from Alderweireld and Ajax were on the counter. Tadic received the ball on the edge of the box and passed it to his left to the oncoming Neres. The Brazilain went from placement more than power but the post came to the rescue.
The game finished 1-0 and now Spurs have it all to do in Amsterdam.
Ajax are favourites to qualify for the final now after the first leg. The Dutch side to reach their seventh Champions League final is 2/7 on Bet365. Spurs to turn it around and reach the biggest final in their history is 5/2. In terms of going all the way and winning the competition, Ajax are now third favourites. Bet365 have priced them at 11/4 to win with Spurs are 9/1. Both of these teams have had big wins in the Champions League this season and whats to say they couldn’t go all the way.