After a compelling football battle, Ajax has defeated Juventus by 1-2. Goals by Donny van de Beek and Matthijs de Ligt were enough to earn a spot among the final 4 teams in Europe. For the first time in 22 years, Ajax will play in the Champions League semi-finals.
Coach Erik ten Hag didn’t need to make many changes 6 days after the home game that ended at 1-1. Nico Tagliafico was suspended after his third yellow card in the group phase, and Noussair Mazraoui took his spot. But this didn’t last very long.
Ajax loses Mazraoui early
In the 7th minute, the left back left the field with an ankle injury; Daley Sinkgraven came in for him. It was his debut in the Champions League.
1st opportunity for Ajax
Although Juventus put Ajax under a lot of pressure, it was the Amsterdam team which had the first opportunity. Van de Beek appeared in front of keeper Szczesny, but the ball went wide. Dybala took a hard shot after that, but Onana made a good save.
Juventus takes the lead
Ronaldo opened the score in the 28th minute. Turpin consulted the video referee as there had been lots of shoving in front of the goal, but he saw no reason to disallow the goal: 1-0.
Van de Beek 1-1!
Soon after, the game was tied! Van de Beek received the ball, pivoted, and passed Szczesny: 1-1.
Shower of opportunities for Ajax
In the second half, Ajax steamrolled Juventus in earnest. But the first opportunities didn’t belong to Ziyech or Van de Beek. Juventus was wobbly, but the game remained tied thanks to goalie Szczesny and Pjanic.
Until the 67th minute, that is. That’s when Matthijs de Ligt brought Ajax to a higher level with his header. After a perfect corner by Lasse Schöne, the captain squeezed in between two defenders and scored with an amazing header: 1-2.
Neres had the chance to lock up the game, but he sent the ball just wide with his left foot in the 73rd minute. In the 80th minute, Ajax seemed poised to score its third goal, but unfortunately Hakim Ziyech, after two ball contacts before shooting it in, was offside.
The extra minutes ticked away in Ajax’s advantage. For the first time in 22 years, the club has reached the Champions League semi-finals!