Champions League Review: Spurs face Liverpool after heroic night in Amsterdam
Tottenham Hotspur will face Liverpool in the final of the UEFA Champions League after another incredible comeback, this time in the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam.
When tears stream down your face after a team you don’t care about wins a football match; you’ve squirted lemon juice into your eye, or something monumental has happened.
It should be mandatory for therapists to force depressed patients to watch the 2019 UEFA Champions League Semi-Final second legs as a way to drag happiness out of the pit.
It was a scintillating couple of days that allowed people to forget about the troubles of the world and to focus on what makes us human (unless you’re a fan of Barcelona or Ajax, in which case you’re likely looking for a therapists couch to help you get over it).
Spurs will face Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League Final in Madrid after another fantastic comeback, this time in the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men arrived in the Netherlands on a run of terrible results including the one-nil first-leg defeat at home where Ajax was utterly dominant.
Things began much the same as they left off when in the fourth minute Dusan Tadic brought a smart save from Hugo Lloris only for Matthijs de Ligt to outjump Dele Alli to head Ajax into a two-goal aggregate lead.
Spurs nearly pulled one back two minutes later when Son Heung-min struck the base of the post after a great run down the left, only for Ajax to go into the half-time interval 3-0 ahead on aggregate after a stunning strike from Hakim Ziyech.
Spurs came out of the traps in the second half like coiled rattlesnakes attacking a mischief of mice. Eight minutes in, and Alli brought out an excellent near-post save from Andre Onana, and then hope when Danny Rose sent a through ball to Moura after a cute nutmeg. Moura dropped it to Ali, and as the England midfielder turned inside a defender, Moura took it off his foot and finished with aplomb.
Three minutes later, and Moura was at it again.
Keiran Trippier found Fernando Llorente in the box, only for Onana to pull off a brilliant close-range save to deny the Spaniard, but he couldn’t hold the ball. It eventually spilt to Moura, and with his back to goal, the Brazilian used all the trickery he could muster to swivel free of defenders and smash the ball home.
With Spurs bombing forward, Ajax had chances on the counter, most notably in the 79th minute when the impressive Ziyech struck the Spurs post from the edge of the box, and then Jan Vertonghen looked to have wasted Spurs’ last chance when he headed against the bar and then saw his shot cleared off the line with three minutes remaining.
The fourth official showed five minutes of injury time, and after three of them had passed, Ziyech was once again at it, this time Hugo Lloris pulling off a fantastic save.
Then as we approached the sixth minute of injury time, Moussa Sissoko lumped the ball forward, Llorente laid it to Ali, who brilliantly fed Moura to shoot low into the bottom corner of the net.
The goal sparked incredible scenes as the entire Ajax backline fell to the turf in despair. Pochettino ran onto the pitch in tears, sinking to his knees, head in the dirt, Jermaine Jenas began to cry in the BTSports commentary booth, and Gary Lineker was concerned that his fellow pundit Glen Hoddle was about to have another heart attack in the studio.
It was an incredible performance, especially after Spurs had lost their previous three semi-finals including the League Cup against Chelsea this year. It means we have an all-English final for the first time since Man Utd beat Chelsea in Moscow back in 2008.
Here are the odds.
*Spurs began as a 25/1 shot, but during the group, dropped as low as 100/1
* Liverpool won both league games by 2-1.
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