Spurs struggle as Ajax take first-leg victory

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Ajax’s magical Champions League campaign has continued with a 1-0 semi-final first leg win over Tottenham.

Donny van de Beek scored the only goal of the game to give the Dutch champions one foot in the final ahead of the second leg in Amsterdam next week.

Ajax started the match on the front foot with Donny van de Beek causing the Spurs defence problems, and it was Van de Beek who opened the scoring in the 15th minute.

After a period of Ajax dominance, Hakim Ziyech found the 22-year-old unmarked inside the area to finish past Hugo Lloris.

Spurs continued to struggle, with Fernando Llorente cutting a lonely figure up front.

Ajax should have been two goals up inside half an hour when Dusan Tadic found Van de Beek in behind, but this time the shot was saved at Lloris’ near post with David Neres waiting unmarked in the centre.

Christian Eriksen created Tottenham’s first real chance a few minutes later. His free-kick found the head of Llorente but the Spaniard could only direct the ball wide.

Worse was to come for Tottenham, when Jan Vertonghen was clattered in the face by Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana. The Dutch defender did attempt to continue but was replaced by Moussa Sissoko in the 40th minute due to a suspected broken nose and concussion.

Lucas Moura tried to spring Spurs into life before half time, but his cutback was claimed by Onana after driving into the box. The Brazilian then threatened again but could not get past Joel Veltman.

Toby Alderweireld nearly levelled in first-half stoppage time, but his header went inches over the bar from Kieran Trippier’s free kick. Sissoko made a big difference after coming on, and shot narrowly past the left post as the half time whistle blew.

Tottenham came out stronger in the second half and Llorente’s skill nearly created an equaliser. He flicked the ball over the head of a defender before cutting inside. The ball eventually fell to Dele Alli but his shot was blocked. At the other end, Nicolas Tagliafico fired the ball past the left post.

Spurs kept pushing for an equaliser, with Alli firing at Onana before heading over from Trippier’s cross.

Danny Rose was finding success down the left wing and had two chances to equalise. Alli tried to find the wing back unmarked in the area but Onana came out to claim it, before Eriksen played him in but the shot was blocked.

It could have been two for Ajax though in the 79th minute. Dusan Tadic slipped the ball to David Neres whose strike towards the far corner rebounded off the post.

Ajax snuffed out the last of the Spurs chances to take a one-goal lead into the second leg.

Cover Photo: Ajax Amsterdam by John Brooks used under licens by CC BY 2.0.

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