Champions League: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Ajax, 3 reasons why Ajax won the first leg
AFC Ajax came away with an all-important away goal against Tottenham in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final. Even though there is everything to play for in the second leg of the tie, they will definitely be fancying their chances of reaching the final after that result in the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
Ajax dominated proceedings from the first whistle and had total control of the game in the first 30 minutes. The Dutch side's early dominance was rewarded when Donny Van de Beek caught the Tottenham defence sleeping and passed the ball past Hugo Lloris to open the scoring.
Spurs found it hard to cope with Ajax's heavy pressure off the ball and couldn't stitch a couple of passes together in the first half.
A change in the system and the introduction of Moussa Sissoko in midfield helped Tottenham Hotspur get back into the game in the second half, but they couldn't create a clear-cut opportunity to score. Ajax had a couple of chances of their own but failed to capitalise.
The Dutch giants were exceptional on the night, and we pick 3 reasons why they won the game against Tottenham.
#3 Showed brilliant defensive resilience
The Dutch giants are known for their play with the ball, but defensive solidity remains one of the most underrated traits of this Ajax side. Matthijs de Ligt once again proved his mettle on the biggest stage against Tottenham and showed exactly why he is the captain of this Ajax side at the age of 19.
He dealt brilliantly with Fernando Llorente's physicality and kept the Spaniard at bay for the whole of 90 minutes. His partner in defence, Daley Blind, had a solid game as well. The 29-year-old won 5 aerial duels and made 4 interceptions during the game.
Goalkeeper Andre Onana's willingness to come and collect crosses and long balls definitely helped Ajax in keeping a high line. They defended as a unit and didn't let Tottenham create big opportunities to score.