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Spurs edge thrilling semi with Ajax to reach Champions League final v Liverpool

Spurs celebrate their astonishing win
Spurs celebrate their astonishing win

Spurs completed an incredible comeback against Ajax as they came from 3-0 down on aggregate to reach the Champions League final against Liverpool.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men earned their way to a Madrid showdown in the final with Liverpool on Saturday June 1 thanks to a stunning Lucas Moura hat-trick as Ajax dramatically fell at the semi-final hurdle in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Spurs got off to the worst possible start when conceding a goal as early as the fifth minute, Ajax skipper Matthijs de Ligt rising above Dele Alli to head past Hugo Lloris from a Lasse Schone cross following a corner.

Referee Felix Brych signalled that there was a VAR review but no infringement was deemed to have been made.

Half an hour later things got worse for Tottenham when a sweeping move from the home side ended with a delicate curling finish from Hakim Ziyech into the corner past a stranded Lloris.

Spurs had a chance to get back in the game in the 53rd minute, Christian Eriksen’s delicious cross met well by Alli but Andre Onana was equal to the task and he made the save.

That acted as a catalyst for the comeback, though, Spurs’ next move seeing Moura burst through the Ajax defence before he slotted a low shot past Onana and into the corner for his first goal.

Moura celebrates his second goal
Moura celebrates his second goal

Just four minutes later Spurs were level at 2-2 on the night, Moura scoring again as he kept a cool head following a goalmouth scramble, a left-footed shot through a crowd of players into the corner restoring parity on the night.

Both sides had chances to score again in an end-to-end final 20 minutes, Ziyech notably hitting the post for the home side in the 79th minute, while Jan Vertonghen forced a superb double save out of Onana in the 87th minute, at which point it looked as though Ajax would hold on.

In the fifth minute of five added minutes, though, up popped Moura once again to seal an amazing comeback and ensure an all Premier League final in the Spanish capital next month.


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Opta Facts

  • Tottenham Hotspur have reached the European Cup/Champions League final for the very first time.
  • Spurs are only the second team in Champions League history to lose the first leg of the semi-final at home and progress to the final – the other was Ajax in 1995-96 against Panathinaikos.
  • The 2019 Champions League final will be only the third major European final in history to feature two English teams, after the 1972 UEFA Cup final (Spurs vs Wolves) and 2008 Champions League final (Man Utd vs Chelsea).
  • Two of the six occasions in Champions League history of a side losing the first leg of the semi-final and progressing have been Liverpool and Spurs this season.
  • Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt became the fourth teenager to score in a Champions League semi-final, after Nordin Wooter (1996, Ajax), Obafemi Martins (2003, Inter Milan) and Kylian Mbappé (2017, Monaco).
  • English teams have come from two or more goals behind to win on seven occasions in Champions League history – four more than clubs of any other nation. Indeed, four of the last five occasions have been English teams.
  • Spurs will be the eighth different English team to feature in a European Cup/Champions League final, after Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester United and Nottingham Forest; England have had more different teams in the final of the competition than any other nation.
  • Ajax’s Dusan Tadic has been involved in 55 goals in 54 appearances in all competitions this season (34 goals, 21 assists).
  • Spurs were the first team to come two goals behind to win in a Champions League semi-final since Manchester United in 1999 against Juventus.
  • Ajax have won none of their last eight home Champions League knockout matches (W0 D4 L4), a run stretching back to 1996.
  • Spurs’ Lucas Moura is only the fifth player to score a Champions League semi-final hat-trick, and first since Cristiano Ronaldo in May 2017 for Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid.

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Most Read Football

Lee Bowyer1

Bowyer to leave Charlton

Lee Bowyer is set to leave Charlton despite leading the club to promotion after failing to agree terms on a new contract.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages2

Paper Talk: Juve see De Ligt

Maurizio Sarri could be handed the perfect welcome gift at Juventus as they chase Matthijs de Ligt's, which leads our rundown of today's back pages.

Roma legend Francesco Totti3

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Francesco Totti said "I feel like it'd be better if I died" after ending a 30-year association with Roma .

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our Transfer Market4

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