Ajax conjured up another feisty performance in the Champions League. Taking on a much-fancied Juventus, the Dutch club dominated proceedings and eventually edged a tight encounter.
The match itself was rather scrappy, especially in the first half but as Ajax upped the ante, the Bianconeri faded beyond recognition. It all seemed hunky-dory for the home side when Ronaldo’s thundered in a header on 28 minutes. Ajax recovered to equalise six minutes later via a smart finish by Donny van de Beek.
De Ligt completed the comeback with a header of his own in the second half, thus sealing a memorable win for de Godenzonen.
#1. De Ligt is world class.
Ajax captain Matthijs De Ligt was exceptional in Turin. Although at fault for Juventus’ goal, the defender was an assured presence at the back. He slots into position so effortlessly, one wonders if there are higher powers giving him a lowdown of the game at least five passes in advance.
At hand to repel many a Juve forward thrust, the 19-year-old capped his night with an indelible winner.
#2. De Jong and de Beek outmanoeuvre Juventus’ midfield
De Jong is an unflappable presence in midfield. Playing behind Schone and de Beek, the Barca bound midfielder was effortless on the night. Calmly stepping in to intercept stray passes or prompting Ajax forward from deep, the midfielder struts about the turf with a nonchalance unbeknownst to the many.
While De Jong probed from deep, van de Beek was Ajax’s dagger. Charging forwards at all times, the composed midfielder was a constant nuisance for the Juve backline. Always looking to drift into the penalty box from deep; the midfielder was rewarded for his persistence with a tidy goal.
#3. Daley Blind makes his mark on the occasion
Not even in his wildest dreams would he have dared to see himself in the final four of the Champions League. But Blind, the senior man in the side, was exceptional last night.
Covering every blade of grass, the Ajax veteran was seen shuttling between left and centre, with the occasional move to the right. He hustled all night and with great success.
#4. Allegri caught out
Max Allegri might have heaved a sigh of relief when Ronaldo powered Juve into the lead but the home side was rather passive over 90 minutes. It was folly on his part to conclude that his wards would see out the game thereafter. Having begun the game with restless energy, the seasoned veterans huffed and puffed their way to yet another European heartbreak.
#5. Ronaldo powerless to prevent Juve exit
As Ronaldo rushed off to the dressing room, shaking his head in disappointment, Ronaldo’s dream of equalling Francisco Gento’s record of six European Cups would have to wait another season.
The forward tried his darndest best to lift Juve out of the quagmire, but this was not to be another glorious European evening for the Portuguese great.