Wednesday, August 21, 2019

AFC Ajax (3) 2-3 (3) Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs stage dramatic comeback to reach final with last kick of the match

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Tottenham Hotspur scored a dramatic, late winner to reach the UEFA Champions League final as they came from 2-0 down on the night to secure a 3-3 aggregate draw and progress on away goals.

The Amsterdam outfit were on the scoresheet after only five minutes as Matthijs de Ligt leapt highest to head home from a corner. They doubled their lead mid-way through the first-half as Hakim Ziyech thumped home Dusan Tadic’s cutback. Lucas Moura hauled the North-Londoners level with an eye-catching double only minutes into the second period. Spurs threw everything at their hosts in the second-half and it looked like it was not going to be but that was until Moura reacted quickest to steer home in the last seconds of the match.

Perfect start for Ajax

The hosts started excellently and put the Tottenham goal under severe pressure. Tadic had the first opportunity as he cut inside and forced a fantastic save out of Hugo Lloris with a curling effort. However, it did not take long for the hosts to take the lead as from the resultant corner, De Ligt powered a booming header into the bottom corner.

The frantic start continued as Heung Min-S0n hit the post from a tight angle with Andre Onana stranded. The South Korean should also

have done better mid-way through the first-half as he was played through but put his shot straight at the Ajax stopper. Christian Eriksen then did exactly the same as he found space on the edge of the penalty.

Ziyech doubles the lead with clinical finish

The game was end-to-end throughout the first-half and former Southampton man Tadic could have doubled the lead but he fizzed a low effort just wide of the post.

He was to be involved in a second goal however as he raced down the left-flank and pulled a great ball back into the path of Ziyech. The Moroccan ran onto the ball perfectly and smashed it beyond Lloris to give the Amsterdam outfit a comfortable lead.

Moura hauls Spurs back into the side

Tottenham could have reduced their deficit after the break as Eriksen produced a teasing ball into Dele Alli. The Englishman met the ball on the volley but excellent reactions from Onana preserved the hosts’ lead.

However, the Cameroonian could not do anything as Spurs eventually earned their foothold. Breaking on a wicked counter-attack, Alli did well to feed Moura and the Brazilian finished coolly into the bottom corner. The winger then scored again only minutes later. Onana did brilliantly to save substitute Fernando Llorente’s close range effort but could not hold the ball. It fell to Moura, who showed stunning feet before smashing the ball into the net to take Tottenham to within one on aggregate.

The game really did liven up as both sides pushed to secure victory. Ziyech once again could have put the game beyond Spurs but his placed effort deflected back off of the post.

Tottenham seal another memorable Champions League night

The visitors had some really glaring chances to win the tie late on. Jan Vertonghen got free from a corner and Onana was on hand to deny him. The ball came back to the Belgian defender and he looked sure to score but Joël Veltman miraculously cleared off of the line.

Ziyech then wasted yet another opportunity as he blasted straight at Lloris when in acres of room. That opportunity came back to bite the hosts as the ball ran free for Moura in the last few seconds. He stuck out a leg and saw his deflected effort trundle into the net to secure his hat-trick and Tottenham’s progression to the final.

Final Thoughts

If there is one cliché to really sum this game up, it would be a game of two halves. Tottenham really were under-par before the break and really needed to improve and that is exactly what they did. Spurs worked harder, pressed with intensity and the hosts really could not match them. Mauricio Pochettino’s men will now meet Liverpool as they aim to win their first ever Champions League title.

Match Report

AFC Ajax: Onana (6); Tagliafico (6), Blind (6), de Ligt (7), Mazraoui (6); De Jong (7), Schone (6) (Veltman (6), 60′); Dolberg (5) (Sinkgraven (6), 67′), van de Beek (6) (Magallan (N/A), 90′), Ziyech (8); Tadic (7).

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (6); Rose (6) (Davies (N/A), 83′), Vertonghen (7), Alderweireld (6), Trippier (7) (Lamela (N/A), 81′); Wanyama (5) (Llorente (6), 46′), Eriksen (7), Sissoko (7), Alli (6); Moura (9), Son (5).

Goals: de Ligt (5′), Ziyech (36′), Moura (55, 59′)

Referee: Felix Brych

Yellow Cards: Sissoko (17′), Dolberg (50′), Rose (76′), Ziyech (77′), Onana (90+5′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is currently a second-year football journalism student at the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately four years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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