Tottenham ‘De Ligts’ Ajax

So you probably already know this, but unless you’ve been under a rock and just came out, today’s trending football headline is about Tottenham Hotspur. Why?

Well it’s partly because Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino chose to use 5-foot-10 Kieran Trippier to mark spritely 6-foot-2 Matthijs de Ligt, but it’s mostly because of this:

They had a 1-0 aggregate from the first leg of the semi-finals and then a goal from 19 year old Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt (pronounced Matthias Delete) in the 5th minute and another in the 35th by Hakim Ziyech pushed their goal deficit up to 3.

Matthijs de Ligt
Matthijs de Ligt (Photo: REUTERS)

And then…

Spurs’ Brazilian Lucas Moura proceeded to completely blow the minds of all watching and all who would later hear of this story by scoring a hat-trick.

His first goal in the 55th minute was quickly followed by another 4 minutes later, causing Spurs to equalise with their Dutch hosts at the Johan Cruyff (Dutch: Cruijff) Stadium.

Eriksen (left), Moura (middle) and Alli (right) celebrate their victory sealing goal
Eriksen (left), Moura (middle) and Alli (right) celebrate their victory sealing goal (Photo: REUTERS)

10 minutes to the end of the game, Spurs had hounded Ajax continuously and looked quite ragged. That didn’t stop them from making some really close attempts though, as Hugo Lloris had to pay attention to their attacking.

Lucas Moura and Dele Alli set up a goal and a lot of people don’t know how exactly it went in (and in the 6th minute of their allotted 9 minutes of extra time at that). That doesn’t matter now because it did go in and Tottenham reached the final on away goals.

Trippier (top), Kane (middle) and Moura can't contain their joy at the final whistle
Trippier (top), Kane (middle) and Moura can’t contain their joy at the final whistle (Photo: REUTERS)

This result is especially amazing because they were not at home and the only other team in the history of this competition to lose the first leg of the semis and then progress to the finals is Ajax.

Also, this final is now the third European competition final with two English teams in it (1972: Spurs vs Wolves in the UEFA Europa League and 2008: Manchester United and Chelsea in the Champions League).

The entire stadium was a whole mix of emotions and the pitch was flooded with tears. Tears of sadness from the heartbreak felt by Ajax and actual tears of joy from Tottenham.

Heartbroken Ajax players
Heartbroken Ajax players after the match (Photo: REUTERS)

And their usually tight-lipped manager, Mauricio Pochettino, well he was the picture of elation, and after the match he kept saying that his players were superheroes.

Mauricio Pochettino and his overjoyed team
Mauricio Pochettino and his overjoyed team get into their first Champions League final (Photo: REUTERS)

Matthijs de Ligt however, felt that Ajax should have scored more goals and didn’t deserve to get their dreams crushes like this after everything they’ve come through.

The away dressing room was loud and full of celebrations, rightfully so as that epic comeback means they are on their way to their first ever Champions League final.

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