George Pitts is expecting a tight clash when Ajax look to continue their European heroics. Can Spurs set up a meeting with Liverpool in the final?
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Ajax v Tottenham
- Johan Cruyff Arena, 2000 BST kick-off on BT Sport 2
Liverpool's sensational comeback against Barcelona on Tuesday will provide Tottenham with inspiration going into their semi-final with Ajax on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp's Reds, in the other last four clash, came from three down on aggregate to beat Euro giants Barca at Anfield to book their place in the June final.
They will face the winner of this clash and Tottenham are no strangers to drama in the competition this season, having edged past Man City in sensational circumstances last month.
Granted, they have a different challenge here against Dutch side Ajax, arguably the surprise package in the Champions League this term. After stunning Real Madrid and Juventus in the knockout stages, they were 1-0 winners in the first leg at Spurs' new stadium last week and Mauricio Pochettino will need a big performance from his side to set up a meeting with Klopp in the final.
Donny van de Beek scored the only goal of the game, but it could have been much worse when David Neres' strike beat Hugo Lloris and rattled the post in the second half - a lifeline for the Londoners.
Ajax go into this tie with a valuable away goal, but a 1-0 lead is dangerous and they will not want to sit back for 90 minutes against a Spurs side with numerous threats, despite Harry Kane's absence, but they will be boosted by the return of Heung-min Son from suspension.
Prediction: Ajax 1-1 Spurs (Sky Bet odds: 6/1)
A real tough match to call but Ajax can use their home advantage to at least get on the score sheet and that goal in the first leg could prove to be the difference. With Tottenham having to go for it, the Dutch giants can capitalise by netting at the other end.
With the way this game is expect to go, backing the visitors to get at least five shots on target is a good way to side with at this price. With Son back and raring to go, likely leading the line with Lucas Moura, Spurs will have to go for it as they did in the second leg of the quarter-final against Man City. In that Etihad clash they had seven shots on target and, with Ajax making it difficult, the north Londoners may have a high shot count as they look to find a way through. In Ajax's home clashes against the European giants Bayern and Real Madrid, the visiting team had nine and eight shots on target respectively. Spurs, meanwhile, have averaged nearly six shots on target per game in the competition this term, so this could be worth a small play.
A great price on a man who will be key for the hosts going forward. Ziyech, playing on the right of Ajax's front three, has been involved in five goals for Ajax in the Champions League this term and the 26-year-old impressively averages nearly five shots per game in the competition.
- Only one of the 17 previous teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League/European Cup semi-final tie has progressed to the final: it was Ajax in 1995-96, the Dutch team losing 1-0 at home against Panathinaikos before winning 3-0 away.
- Ajax will attempt to reach their first Champions League/European Cup final since 1996 (losing finalists against Juventus) whilst Tottenham would become the 40th different team in Champions League/European Cup history to make the showpiece game, and the first to reach their first such final since Chelsea in 2008.
- Tottenham’s two previous Champions League away games against Dutch opposition ended in draws with a grand total of 10 goals, an average of 5 goals per game. Also, since the start of 2018, Spurs have won only one of their six Champions League away games, a 1-0 victory at Dortmund in this season’s round of 16 (D3 L2).
- Ajax’s joint-heaviest home defeat against English opposition was inflicted by Tottenham, in September 1981. Spurs won 3-1 at the Olympisch Stadion, courtesy of goals from Mark Falco (2) and Ricky Villa (1).
- Ajax are winless in their last three Champions League home games (D2 L1). They could become the fourth team to reach the Champions League final with more away wins than home wins that same season, after Manchester Utd (2010/11), Juventus (2016/17) and Real Madrid (2017/18).
- Qualifiers included, Ajax have already played 17 games this season in the Champions League (6 in the qualifiers, 11 in the group/knockout stages), more than any other team this season. They have only lost one of these 17 games, a 2-1 home defeat against Real Madrid in the round of 16.
- Tottenham only had one shot on target in the first leg against Ajax, their joint-lowest total in a Champions League game.
- Among the 2018/19 Champions League semi-finalists, Ajax are the only club to have scored in every game in the competition this season.
- Hakim Ziyech has scored or assisted a goal in four of Ajax’s five Champions League knockout games this season (2 goals, 2 assists). He set up Donny van de Beek for Ajax’s goal in the first leg against Tottenham.
- Suspended in the first leg against Ajax, Son Heung-Min has scored 50% of Tottenham’s goals in this season’s Champions League knockout stages (4 out of 8). He is the highest Asian goalscorer in the competition’s history (12 goals).
Odds correct as of 2030 BST on 07/05/19