Ajax beats Tottenham in London in its first Champions League semi in 22 years

Champions League
Champions League. (Photo: artjazz/Deposit Photos)

The first Ajax match in a Champions League semifinal in 22 years ended in surprise with a narrow victory against Tottenham Hotspurs. The first leg with Tottenham was played at the Spurs' stadium in London, where the hometown crowd was no doubt disappointed by a performance fairly dominated by the Amsterdam squad.

The win gives Ajax a good, but not insurmountable advantage in the second leg. That match is scheduled for May 8 at Johann Cruijff Arena at 9 p.m. Should Ajax go through, it would be their first Champions League final since 1996 when Ajax lost to Juventus. The Amsterdam squad last won the elite league tournament in 1995.

Donny van de Beek scored Tuesday night's only goal just 15 minutes in when the midfielder received a brilliant pass and carefully placed a shot into the low corner past keeper Hugo Lloris. Though Amsterdam fans stayed loyal, Van de Beek's goal put Ajax ahead defying the predictions of oddsmakers.

Tottenham began to bolster there defense ten minutes later after some relentless pressure from Ajax. 

Perhaps the most worrisome moment of the match came just after halftime, when Tottenham defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld slammed into each other. Blood poured out of Vertonghen's face, but was allowed to play on before eventually being substituted when he looked as though he was going to collapse.

Then in the 78th minute some spirited play by Amsterdam gave David Neres an excellent chance in the Area. He was left wanting as his strike tapped the far goal post without crossing the line.

"Ajax deserved the win tonight but not getting the 2nd away goal means Spurs are still well in this tie!" said Sky Sports commentator Jamie Carragher.

Ajax gradually took on a more defensive posture as the match carried through towards the final whistle. Alderweireld had an excellent opportunity with a header that bounced off the top of the goal instead of bringing Tottenham level.

With about three minutes of injury time added, the match referee ended the match just before 11 p.m. Netherlands time.

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