Ajax surprise Juventus in Turin to advance to the semifinals of the Champions League


Ajax surprised Juventus and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 2-1 win in Turin.

Cristiano Ronaldo gave Juventus the lead in the 28th minute with a 126th goal in the competition, his ninth in seven games against Ajax.

But goals from Donny Van De Beek and Matthijs De Ligt gave Ajax a well-deserved 3-2 success.

Ajax will face Manchester City or Tottenham in their first semi-final of the Champions League for 22 years and many will consider the underdogs again.

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But after eliminating Real Madrid, champion of the previous three seasons, and now Juventus, the young team of Erik Ten Hag should not be underestimated.

In what was to prove an extremely entertaining contest, both sides were slow to start.

Emre almost embarrassed Andre Onana when he kicked the Ajax goalkeeper's kick and the ball flew away from an open goal.

Ajax lost the injured Noussair Mazraoui within the first 10 minutes, but the visitors almost gave the first blow.

David Neres found space in a crowded penalty area and his shot deflected for Van De Beek, who hit the crossbar in the final stretch.

Paulo Dybala saw his shot being stopped by Onana in Juventus' first significant attack, but the hosts were soon ahead through a familiar source.

Unseed Ronaldo found the corner of Miralem Pjanic with a trademark head when Ajax complained of a foul over Joel Veltman.

Clement Turpin went to the sidelines for a VAR test, but closer inspection by the French referee showed that Veltman's team-mate De Ligt pushed him to the ground.

But Ajax were on the same level in the six minutes when Hakim Ziyech's shot crashed into the path of Van De Beek and the midfielder used his good fortune with a guaranteed end in the bottom corner.

The second half went from end to end and Ajax was determined to send the men ahead in search of a goal that left Juventus needing two and a mountain to climb.

Juventus let out a huge sigh of relief when Neres made the cross and Van De Beek put Ziyech inside the penalty area.

Wojciech Szczesny struck a powerful left arm just as the ball seemed to pass for him and Juventus survived.

Van De Beek was at the end of yet another breathtaking approach to Ajax, but again Szczesny was equal to the task and dropped the ball onto the beam.

Juventus substitute Moise Kean kicked off after being slid by Ronaldo but Ajax continued to call the tune and Pjanic stretched a foot to deny Ziyech the simplest of tap-ins.

The pressure was finally announced in the 67th minute when De Ligt rose above Alex Sandro and Daniele Rugani to head Lasse Schone in the corner, past a helpless Szczesny.

Ajax should have scored more in the final moments, when Neres denied Dusan Tadic's pass and Ziyech saw his stack driver to be nullified by impediment.

But Juventus have made some late mistakes, even if an unsuccessful penalty was reverted to the VAR as Ajax became the first Dutch team to reach the last four of the Champions League since 2005.


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