Champions League: Juventus 1-2 Ajax, 5 Talking Points
#4 Frenkie de Jong watch as Donny van de Beek shines
After running the show in the first leg, it's fair to say a lot of eyes were fixated on Frenkie de Jong and his performance on this occasion - especially considering the 21-year-old will be joining Barcelona this summer after all.
Having limped off early with a hamstring injury during Saturday's 6-2 win over Excelsior, it was surprising to see the Dutchman start because he didn't appear 100% fit, but then again no player would want to miss a game of such magnitude. The commentators highlighted his perceived reluctance to drive forward and instead, he often adopted a more conservative approach in possession, perhaps wary of Juventus' counter-attacking capabilities.
Instead, it allowed Donny van de Beek an opportunity to shine and he did precisely that - balancing attack with defence, he contributed well on both sides of the ball, displayed maturity beyond his years and crucially, composure when it mattered most. He made a difficult finish look easy, slotting beyond Szczesny for Ajax's equaliser. With the same approach, he manoeuvred himself out of tricky situations when vying for possession.
His match stats speak for themselves: seven ball recoveries, three tackles, two shots, one key pass and goal. As for de Jong, he was conservative and quieter than last week's display but nonetheless effective.
Growing in confidence as the match wore on, he became more involved in passing combinations despite adopting a cautious approach in possession. Seven ball recoveries, two tackles and aerial duels won, one interception and key pass. Not bad for someone who was quiet, is it?