#2 They were on top throughout the second half of the first leg
While Tuesday night’s first leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was certainly one of Spurs’ weaker performances this year, even in the Champions League where they haven’t always fired on all cylinders in 2018/19, it’d be unfair to write the game off as a totally one-sided win for Ajax. Sure, the Dutch side bossed the first half an hour, but once Moussa Sissoko was brought on for the injured Jan Vertonghen, the tide began to turn.
The second half definitely went more in Tottenham’s favour, and even if it didn’t feel like it at the time, the statistics actually ended up showing that Pochettino’s side enjoyed an advantage when it came to possession (51% to 49% admittedly), and also had more shots on goal throughout the game – 12 compared to 10. Essentially, the only reason they didn’t find an equaliser was that their final ball was lacking.
So were Ajax light years ahead of them, as some writers have suggested? I’d actually say no; it was a poor showing for Spurs but even then, the game never felt completely out of their reach. And on Wednesday night they’re likely to have Sissoko – their game-changer – from the start and may well be able to call on Eric Dier for some more midfield strength. That could allow Christian Eriksen more room to carve out some better chances and if Spurs can score early, then Ajax’s lead would be blown away quickly.Published 03 May 2019, 18:16 IST