Van De Beek gives Ajax advantage as Spurs lose 1-0


Ajax have a slender advantage to take back to Amsterdam following their 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg.

After an incredibly bright start to the game, the Dutch side had Spurs chasing shadows as they circulated the ball in the final third. The North London side were forced to simply play chase as Ajax passed around before eventually finding the net in the opening 15 minutes.

Ajax played some wonderful one-two touch football as they carved through Spurs’ structure with Ziyech finding Donny Van De Beek in the box who cooly fired his shot past Hugo Lloris.

As the first half progressed, the visitors were playing as if they were the home side. Moving Spurs’ players around with ease, Pochettino’s men had no answer to Ajax and their possession. The early goal put all the pressure on the home side, who for the entirety of the first half looked like they had no chance.

Following the goal, Ajax continued to dominate proceedings, camping in the Spurs half. Even when the Lily Whites were able to win the ball back, the Dutch side did extremely well to force the ball carrier into an error before winning possession back. With no outlet, Spurs had to ensure they played with damage limitation at the forefront of their minds.

Losing the midfield battle, the Premier League side found themselves with added misery after defender Jan Vertonghen suffered a serious head-clash with Alderweireld that resulted in him leaving the field. With an already depleted side, Moussa Sissoko was bought into the fray, although his presence helped resume normality in the midfield battle.

Following the whistle blowing for the second half, Spurs came out with a little more bite in their attack. Forcing an early clearance out of the Dutch backline, they found improved stability and sustained possession in the second half. This was helped largely by the presence of Sissoko who was potentially the best midfielder in the Spurs line-up.

Despite the best efforts of the attackers in Dele Alli, Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente, Spurs did little to threaten Onana in the opposing end as he dealt with everything that came his way. However, Ajax did not slow down for long, towards the back end of the second half, David Neres broke free and found himself one-on-one but luckily for Spurs he fired his shot off of the post.

Having been dominated for large parts of the game, Spurs should be thankful the result remained 1-0, particularly in the first half. They seemed to be stretched for ideas and the absence of Son and Kane showed. With only a single shot on target by the 75th minute, Spurs lacked a focal point and will be desperate for a better showing in the away leg.

With an away goal in the bag, Ajax are firmly in the driver seat of this tie. They have blown past Real Madrid and Juventus on their way to this semi-final, although, they have an important cup final this weekend against Willem II. Spurs meanwhile travel to Bournemouth as they continue their assault for top four in the Premier League.


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