The Cinderella of this Champions League has been Ajax, but the young Dutch club are underdogs no more. After dispatching of Real Madrid and Juventus in the previous two rounds, no one was seeing this club as an underdog, as their youth movement has proven enormously fruitful. Ajax went on the road to beat Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of their Champions League Semifinals tie, and they are now favorites to advance to the final in Madrid in late May. A result here would ensure that they advance, while only a Spurs win can save Tottenham.
Don’t miss the second leg of the Champions League Semifinal from Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on TNT and Univision.
Champions League Semifinals Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Tottenham Hotspur +210
Over/Under 2.5 and 3
There was a big difference between the first 30 minutes of the first leg and the rest of the match. Ajax turned on the pressure early against Tottenham, continually hounding Spurs’ net. They forced turnovers from Victor Wanyama and Danny Rose, and both of those players became visibly flustered. Ajax were rewarded for their hustle in the 15th minute when Donny van de Beek found himself alone with Hugo Lloris after a quick pass and made the most of it. That proved to be the lone goal in the game.
The match flipped after the 30 minute mark. Moussa Sissoko provided Spurs a big spark off the bench, and it became the hosts who had the better chances from then on. Tottenham flipped the field and had some good chances, but Fernando Llorente and Christian Eriksen couldn’t break through. Ajax had a few chances on the counter, and David Neres struck the woodwork on a great chance in the second half, but the game ended 1-0 for the visitors.
Winger Hassane Bande and midfielder Carel Eiting are both long-term injuries for Ajax. Both players have been out for months, and they are the only two players on the injury list of the Dutch club.
Spurs aren’t so fortunate in this regard. Star forward Harry Kane will miss this match, and Harry Winks will be out too. Serge Aurier is set to be out, and Jan Vertonghen is highly unlikely to play after an awful collision left him with a horribly bloodied face and a possible concussion in the first leg. Erik Lamela is listed as doubtful.
Matchup to Watch
For Tottenham to advance, they need to score multiple goals, so the pressure will be on Son Heung-min and Spurs’ attack. Son was sidelined for the first leg of this tie because of a yellow card suspension, and his presence was missed. Llorente and Lucas Moura left a lot to be desired with their play, and Son has had a fantastic season.
Ajax were stout in defense and boast one of the best young defenders in the game today. Matthijs de Ligt is only 19, but he plays with a maturity beyond his years, and that’s why he’s the captain of this team. He was unconquerable in the air, and de Ligt always found himself in the right position.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
Sissoko was a huge difference maker for Spurs in the first leg, and Mauricio Pochettino must start him this time around. The question is whether anyone else will step up. Ajax did a great job of shutting down and frustrating Spurs’ midfield on Tuesday, so don’t be surprised if that happens again. Spurs will open up for the goals they need, and Ajax will strike.
Champions League Prediction: Ajax 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1
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