Tottenham Hotspur - Ajax (UEFA Champions League 2018/19)
Players, mascots and officials walk onto the pitch
Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur and Erik Ten Hag, Manager of Ajax embrace
UEFA Champions League semi-final action kicks off
Ajax edge Spurs 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Winner will face either Barcelona or Liverpool in final on 1 June in Madrid
Ajax sealed a crucial 1-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final to take one step towards securing a spot in their first final since 1996.
Donny van de Beek opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Hakim Ziyech threaded through a defence-splitting pass into his path. Van de Beek had time to take a touch and look up at Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris before sending a low shot into the far, bottom corner.
Tottenham, playing without star forwards Harry Kane (injury) and Son Heungmin (suspension), struggled to create many goalscoring opportunities in the first half. However, they attempted five shots in the first half-hour of the second half, which was one more than they had in the entire first half.
Ajax could have a two-goal lead going into the second leg if it weren't for the post denying David Neres' low shot in the 77th minute. However, Erik Ten Hag's side will be happy with securing the away win as their quest for European silverware took another step in the right direction.
The second leg will be played in Amsterdam at Ajax's Johan Cruyff Stadium on 8 May, with the winners meeting either Barcelona or Liverpool in the final on 1 June at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
Did you know?
At the age of 19 years and 261 days, Matthijs de Ligt became the youngest captain ever in a Champions League semi-final
De Ligt and Frenkie de Jong were not even born the last time Ajax played in the Champions League semi-finals (v Juventus in 1997)
Ajax have never lost a Champions League match after scoring the opening goal
Van de Beek is the third "van" to score in a Champions League semi-final match after Robin van Persie for Arsenal in 2009 and Ruud van Nistelrooy for Manchester United in 2002
Ajax are just the third team to win their round of 16, quarter-final and semi-final away game in a Champions League season, following Bayern Munich in 2012/13 and Real Madrid in 2017/18—both teams went on to lift the trophy