Coming into this game, it’s fair to say that Spurs fans were already chuffed with how far their team had been able to take their Champions League run this season. They’ve put in a series of world-class performances in order to reach the final four, and they deserve to be applauded for that. However, when coming up against a side that have beaten Real Madrid and Juventus, they just weren’t able to match their quality on the night.
A poor start
From the moment the teams were announced it was clear to see that this game was going to be an uphill challenge for Tottenham. They certainly have the quality within their ranks to cause the Dutch giants problems, but their injuries and suspensions have really left them short-handed as of late. The absences of Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, of course, are the biggest issues of all.
In the early stages, Ajax were moving the ball around really nicely, neutralising any and all attacking movements from the home side who just didn’t seem to be at the races whatsoever. Then, after just 15 minutes, the visitors got the breakthrough and away goal they so richly deserved. Donny van de Beek was the man who got the goal from close range, finishing off a move that looked far too easy.
Let off the hook?
Tottenham started to force the tempo a little bit more in the second half, and seemed as if they were gaining in confidence. Then, as Ajax began to take over once again, David Neres was presented with a golden chance to double his side’s advantage. Unfortunately for the travelling fans he couldn’t quite steer the ball home, and instead, it bounced off the inside of the post as Spurs fans collectively held their breath. From that point on Pochettino’s men were starting to hold on just a little bit, and when the full-time whistle blew, there was an odd atmosphere around the stadium.
They know that they’ll need to step it up in the second leg, with the away goal meaning that even a 1-0 win will only be enough to take them through to extra time. Prior to the second leg Tottenham will be facing Bournemouth at the weekend in the Premier League, whereas Ajax will clash with Willem in the KNVB Cup Final.
Either way, we should be in for one hell of a second leg.
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Vertonghen (6), Sanchez (7), Alderweireld (7), Wanyama (6.5), Rose (6.5), Alli (6.5), Eriksen (7), Trippier (6.5), Moura (7), Llorente (7), Davies (6), Sissoko (6.5), Foyth (6.5)
Ajax: Onana (7), Veltman (7.5), de Ligt (7), Blind (8), Tagliafico (6.5), Schone (7), de Jong (8), Ziyech (8), van de Beek (8.5), Neres (6.5), Tadic (6.5), Huntelaar (6), Mazraoui (6.5)
Referee: Antonio Mateu
Goals: van de Beek
Yellow Cards: Veltman, Tagliafico
Red Cards: N/A
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