Lucas Moura breaks Ajax\’s hearts to sets up an all-English final

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They were supposed to go out in the group stage, then they were doubted in the last 16, they were underdogs in the quarter-finals and there was no way they were supposed to survive two first half Ajax goals in this semi-final second leg, but Tottenham resisted as they have done all season and have reached their first ever Champions League final.


   

It didn\’t seem possible for there to be any more drama in this Champions League season, but there were a few drops left in the bottle as three second half Lucas Mouragoals knocked Ajax out on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate result.
The Dutch side had extended their 1-0 first leg lead with efforts from and Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech, but the English side produced a comeback to rival Liverpool\’s from the night before.
It had all started so well for Erik ten Hag\’s Ajax youngsters.
After Hugo Lloris saved from a ricochet in the box in the fourth minute, the ball spluttering out at him like a can of juice from a rusty old vending machine, from the resulting corner captain De Ligt powered a header into the bottom corner.
Soma Ajax fans\’ thoughts would have already been drifting towards booking flights to Madrid and to wondering if the hotel they stayed at in in March when they visited Real Madrid would be available again, but there was a major snap-out-of-it moment just minutes after the goal as Son Heung-min clipped the post.
What followed was a period of sustained Spurs pressure and they again threatened through Son, but Ajax had chances on the counter attack and scored a second with a perfectly-executed break finished off with a fizzing Ziyech strike past Lloris 10 minutes before the break.
Fernando Llorente was brought on at half time as Mauricio Pochettino looked for the Spaniard to make an impact in the Champions League once again and he did help get his side on the front foot.

In the 53rd minute, Andre Onana produced one of the many acrobatic saves he has made this European campaign and denied Dele Alli from close range, palming the ball away for a corner, but there was nothing he could do a couple of minutes later as Alli inadvertently dribbled the ball into the path of Moura for a perfect finish.
 Onana and Moura were at the centre of the action again just moments later as he saved from Llorente, but the rebound fell at the feet of Lasse Schone and it flicked up as the goalkeeper tried to gather and the Brazilian was once again on hand to fire into the back of the net to make it 2-2 on the night.

Although they were still one goal ahead, the threat of an away goals exit meant Ajax suddenly felt the need to score and they threatened to net one around the 70th minute as several balls were pinged into the box in dangerous positions for Lloris, but the Frenchman and his defence clung on.
The Dutch side came even closer to another goal when Ziyech smacked an effort off the post in the 79th minute, a miss that would prove so crucial and that will race through the minds of Dutch fans tonight as they lie on their pillows.
It gave Spurs 10 minutes of normal time and five minutes of stoppage time of hope and they\’d need all 15 of them as a Jan Vertonghen double miss against his former club, with efforts off the crossbar and off the line, suggested the youngsters of Amsterdam would really do it.
But then came the final stanza and Moura\’s third goal, similar to his first and also assisted by Alli.
It doesn\’t matter, though, how it was scored – at least it didn\’t for the pile of Tottenham players celebrating in ecstasy in the corner of the pitch.

They\’re going to Madrid and they\’ll meet Liverpool at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 1.
By: macra 


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SIR KENN

SIR KENN is an on-air personality and a blogger.

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