Ajax Heartache as Spurs Make Champions League Final with Epic, Last-Second Victory
Posted on: May 9, 2019, 06:41h.
Last updated on: May 9, 2019, 06:41h.
“It’s glory, glory Tottenham Hotspur in the most amazing Champions League semifinal most of us have ever seen!” marveled BT Sports commentator Darren Fletcher, as Spurs celebrated an improbable, last-second victory against Ajax on Wednesday night.
He forgot to add “since yesterday.”
Another night, another epic game of Champions League soccer, as Spurs turned around an impossible, odds-defying situation to snatch a winner in the final second of stoppage time, having been three goals down on aggregate at half time.
It was heartbreak for Ajax, a dynamic young team whose run in soccer’s most elite competition has delighted and excited.
Because of the away-goals rule, the tie was balanced on a knife edge since the since the 59th minute, when Spurs winger Lucas Moura scored his second goal in the space of six minutes — six minutes that saved Spurs’ bacon.
Having beaten 1-0 in North London a week ago, Ajax carried a precious away goal into the home leg in Amsterdam, and two first-half goals for the home side made Spurs’ task seemingly impossible.
But with the score at 2-2 on the night, Spurs knew that a goal would see them through to the final with more away goals scored, but as it stood Ajax would progress.
With seconds ticking down on the clock, Spurs pumped a long ball upfield towards the edge of the Ajax penalty area. Érik Lamela muscled the ball to Deli Ali, who threaded it through to Moura.
The ball hit the back of the net with 5:01 showing on the clock, after five minutes of stoppage time. Fortunately for Spurs, this wasn’t basketball. Soccer players play to the referee’s whistle and not the clock.
On finally hearing that whistle, Ajax players dropped like dominoes.
“The emotion is amazing, thank you to football. Thank you, football — this type of emotion without football is not possible,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino told BT Sport, having openly wept with joy on the pitch. “Thank you to everyone who has believed in us. To describe this in words is difficult.”
The bookies certainly didn’t believe in Spurs, which was 4/1 to turn the tie around before yesterday’s game, although those odds had drifted to 20/1 by half time.
The North London side will once again be the underdog when it faces Liverpool in Madrid in the final on June 1 — the first all-English Champions League final since 2011. Oddsmakers have Spurs at just over 3/1 to lift the trophy, while Liverpool is 6/11.
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