Walking into the Tottenham Hotspurs new stadium with a hostile environment around, a young Ajax side had no fear, as they walked out of London with a 1-0 lead over Tottenham Hotspurs in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals first leg.
The scoreline read 1-0 at the end of 90 minutes, but the lead could have been way more given the chances Ajax squandered. The lone goal of the match was scored by Donny van de Beek’s first-half goal. Spurs did chase in the second half after trailing, but with a side depleted by injuries and suspension, Pochettino it lacked the attacking end product to equalize the neck to neck clash.
Ajax identified many empty pockets of space around which led to van de Beek’s goal, which was brought in beautifully sent in to the penalty box by Hakim Ziyech before knocking a shot past Hugo Lloris in the 15th minute.
Contesting their first European semifinal in 57 years, Spurs were without their star striker Harry Kane and suspended Son Heung-min. The hosts also lost their defender Jan Vertonghen in the first half with an injury, which is suspected to be a concussion. He challenged for a head in Ajax’s zone but slammed his face into his fellow defender Toby Alderweireld’s head, which left him with blood pouring from his nose.
Vertonghen lasted only 40 seconds before going across to the sideline, leaning over and struggling to stand. He is likely to be rested Bouremouth.
In what could be a fantastic journey for the Dutch club, who last lifted the Champions League in 1995, are just two matches away from clinching the trophy. With a 1-0 lead, especially an away goal, Ajax have a chance to make it to the semifinals which looks highly likely.
In the other clash of the semifinals, FC Barcelona take on Liverpool in the first leg on Wednesday night at Camp Nou.