If Ajax don’t make it to the Champions League final – which would be a remarkable achievement in itself given that they started the season as 250/1 shots – it could realistically be called a tragedy given how much they dominated the first leg, but the Dutchmen should make no mistakes against Spurs in the second leg tonight.
Erik Ten Hag’s side have swashbuckled their way through an incredibly testing tournament run and they went to Spurs with the same no fear attitude. In away wins against Real Madrid (4-1) and at Juventus (2-1) they piled on the pressure late but against Spurs they dominated the first 30 minutes to an incredible extent, with a mix of incisive passing and switched approach play. Donny van de Beek’s goal was the least they deserved from such a complete period of football and with Dusan Tadic, Hakim Ziyech and David Neres all running rings around the home defence.
Spurs managed to get into the game a lot more during the second half, with Moussa Sissoko making a significant difference once he replaced the injured Jan Vertonghen, but even in the second half Ajax ought to have put themselves two clear when David Neres’ goalbound shot managed to hit the post at the only angle which wouldn’t have resulted in a goal.
Spurs are somehow still in with a chance here, and having Sissoko on from the start along with Hueng Min-Son released from his suspension will give them a chance, but their weekend’s defeat at Bournemouth – a 1-0 loss in which Son himself and Juan Foyth were sent off – was the worst preparation possible as the other nine players had to run themselves ragged trying (in vain) to snatch a point.
Ajax v Tottenham Hotspur
UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg
20:00 BT Sport 2 HD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, past 10 years)
MAY 2019 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Tottenham 0-1 Ajax
SEP 1981 EURO CUP WINNERS CUP Tottenham 3-0 Ajax
SEP 1981 EURO CUP WINNERS’ CUP Ajax 1-3 Tottenham
Tottenham are basically in the Top 4 anyway – bar a huge swing in goal difference they should finish fourth – but that was a ninth defeat in their last 10 away games and they’ve lost nine of their last 15 in all competitions. Ajax should relish having the space that Spurs will have to leave to get back into contention and can finish this in style.
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