Ajax again proved that they are one of the favorites in the competition by knocking out a highly experienced Juventus having the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo. No one saw this coming just like no one saw the young guns come in front by knocking Madrid away.
Juventus again failed to take what was theirs way back in 1996. Call this a curse or whatever you want to but after their last clinch, they’ve been to 5 Champions League finals and they haven’t won it again yet and it’s also Cristiano’s first Champions League in the last 9 years where he isn’t the semi-finals of the competition.
No one predicted that the Dutch club full of young guns would reach the last four of Champions League. They deserved each and every inch of it.
Johan Cruijff Arena (1st Leg)
Ajax was at the top of the game till the 45th minute of the game when Cristiano Ronaldo showed his clinical side, entered the box and netted in with a beautiful header. But the lead wasn’t for a long time as just after the second-half, David Neres came and fired a top corner before it was too late.
With the beauty, Cristiano netted in his 125th goal of Champions League. No doubt Cristiano came back from his injury but he again proved that why he’s one of the best in the world.
Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri said that “De Jong is the real source of their game. We tried to control him with Bentancur in the early stages but when he understood that, he moves deeper, and the forwards had to work hard on him. He played very well.”
No doubt that it is De Jong’s final season before he finally goes to Barcelona, but he’s proving that why did Barcelona buy him in a very impressive manner. Ajax dominated possession throughout the match having 58% possession, with 86% passing accuracy.
The score was 1-1 at the end but it was Ronaldo’s side who was walking with an away goal advantage.
De Jong at the post-match conference: “Ajax run is not over yet. If we play the way we did in Madrid, with a lot of courage, then we have a big chance of winning. We’ve done well so far in the Champions League and we’re not done yet.”
Cristiano and De Jong were the favorites of the match.
Score: Ajax 1 – 1 Juventus.
MOTM: David Neres.
Turin (2nd Leg)
No doubt Ajax have proved that they are fearless and have the potential to win the Champions League but it was not easy for them as they were now going to face a team on their home ground where they have only lost for 4 times in Europe in the last 15 years.
Juventus moved to the second leg with an away goal advantage. But that was not enough for them to go ahead. At the 28th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo again stepped up for his team by netting another header into the goal post. Now, the aggregate was 2-1 and if Ajax wanted to win this, they’ve to score at least 2 in the game.
Juventus lead didn’t last long as just after 6 minutes, Donny van de Beek leveled the score with making no mistakes. The aggregate score went from 2-1 to 2-2 with both teams were having 1-1 away goal advantage.
Half-time ended with Ajax having 53% possession. Just after the half-time, Allegri substituted Dybala with Kean. It was just 15 minutes after the first-half that Juve’s goalkeeper Szczęsny made a spectacular save. This match would have been fallen into anyone’s bucket because both the goalkeepers were doing an amazing job and so do the other players.
But Juventus saw their dreams getting shattered when they saw a delightful header by De Ligt going in their goal post. The aggregate score was 2-3 now.
As a result, if Juventus wanted to win, they would have to score at least two but they couldn’t connect with one either and at the end, it was the young guns who walked away with bright smiles on their face. Juventus again got knocked out of the tournament and Ajax made it to the semi-finals for the first time after 22 years.
Ajax’s dressing room was filled with enormous amount of emotions.
Score: Ajax 2 – 1 Juventus (Aggregate: 3 – 2)
MOTM: Matthijs De Ligt.
Now Ajax will play against either Spurs or City in the semi-final.