Lucas Moura produces a second-half hat-trick to send Spurs to their first ever Champions League final in Madrid next month!
Spurs went to Ajax needing to turn around a first leg 1-0 deficit. The visitors were without top scorer Harry Kane and Harry Winks both due to injury. They were welcoming the return of Son, who had missed the first leg due to suspension. Ajax were going to be without winger David Neres, who has been key for them in the Champions League.
Spurs had never progressed further than the semi-finals in the Champions League. Ajax though have been to seven finals, the last of which was in 1995-96. They have also won the competition four times. Both sides have recorded some impressive wins to get to this stage. Spurs beat Dortmund and Man City in the knockout stages and Ajax’s run has been amazing. As well as playing six games just to qualify for the group stages, they have beaten Real Madrid and Juventus in the knockout stages.
Spurs got off to the worst possible start. An Ajax corner was met by captain De Ligt who powered a header past Lloris. Replays showed it was poor marking by Trippier who let the defender just run off. Spurs though nearly got a goal back a minute later. A good run from Son saw him in the Ajax box. With not many options on he took on the shot from the tight angle. The South Korean winger was unlucky as he hit the post.
Spurs grew into the game but again had nothing to show for it. Ajax then went and doubled their lead. More poor defending from Tripper saw Ajax outnumbering the Spurs defence. Ex-Southampton forward Tadic took the ball out wide creating space for Ziyech. He pulled the ball back for Ziyech who smashed it first time into the goal, leaving Lloris no chance.
It was 2-0 to Ajax at half time and it looked like Spurs weren’t going to be going to Madrid. Over the tannoy at the Johan Cruyff Arena could be heard ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley. The Ajax fans literally weren’t worried about a thing after what they had seen the first half.
Spurs came out a different team second half. Much more intent and a different style of play, as they now had Llorente on to cause trouble for the centre backs. They nearly scored on the 52nd minute, Alli half volleying from close range but Onana making a good save. Spurs did get their breakthrough two minutes later. A good counter attack found Lucas running onto a through ball from Alli. He beat De Ligt to the ball and calmly finished it into the bottom right corner. The visitors had belief.
Ajax needed to steady themselves and calm down. But they did just the opposite. A good ball in across the face of goal from Tripper found Llorente four yards out. Somehow Onana saved it but Ajax couldn’t clear the ball. Lucas got onto the ball and another good finish in a crowd of players found Spurs 2-2 on the 58th minute and 3-2 down on aggregate. The visitors needed just one goal to go through.
Ajax nearly put the game to bed. Ziyech again on the edge of the box, this time his effort going too far into the corner and coming out off the post. Spurs had a great chance too. Vertonghen was five yards out and had a free header, but hit it against the post and couldn’t convert the tap in.
It felt like that was Spurs’ last chance to go through. But at the end of the 94th minute, a hopeful ball up from Sissoko fell to the feet of Alli. He played through Lucas who, on the stroke of the 95th minute, guided the ball into the bottom right corner again.
Spurs went crazy, the Ajax fans and players stunned into silence. The ref blew the whistle and Spurs were in their first ever Champions League final. Pochettino couldn’t hold back the tears at the final whistle as he had managed to guide his side to the final.
Spurs will join Liverpool in Madrid for the final after their own amazing comeback against Barcelona. Liverpool go into the final at the favourites on Bet365. They are priced at 1/2 to win with Spurs at 6/4. Liverpool have been in fantastic form this season and have already beaten Spurs twice. However, anyone can win a final and if Spurs can play how they did in the second half of this game then it’s going to be a very interesting game.