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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Ajax Beat Juventus to End Ronaldo's Champions League Run


Ahmed Ahmed

Wed, 17 Apr 2019 12:12 GMT

Ajax came back from a goal down to beat Juventus 2-1 in Turin on Tuesday April 16th to end Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League run. The teams entered the break at 1-1 but the Dutch side produced a stunning second half performance to knock the Old Lady out.

After an even start, Ajax had the first big chance in the 20th minute. David Neres' shot was charged down by Emre Can but the ball fell into the path of Donny van de Beek who shot over from close range. Juventus came close a minute later as Paulo Dybala's shot from distance was saved by goalkeeper Andre Onana. 

The Italian champions took the lead in the 28th minute after Miralem Pjanic's corner was headed into the net by Ronaldo. The referee decided to give the goal after checking with the video assistant referee (VAR).

The away side equalised just past the half hour mark when Hakim Ziyech's miscued shot fell to Van de Beek, who slotted past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to level the score. 

After the break, Ajax stepped up the tempo. Pjanic gave the ball away in midfield leading to Ziyech finding himself in on goal, but the Moroccan international saw his shot magnificently saved by Szczesny. Van de Beek had a shot tipped over the bar by the Polish goalkeeper soon after as the Serie A champions found themselves under pressure.  

A last-ditch interception by Pjanic denied Ziyech a tap in from Dusan Tadic's low cross just past the hour mark. The visitors finally got their deserved goal in the 67th minute as Matthijs de Ligt headed in from Lasse Schone's corner to put his side ahead. In the 74th minute Neres wasted a chance to seal the victory after miskicking his shot from a Ziyech pass. The Moroccan himself had a stunning goal rightfully ruled out for offside late on as the Eredivisie leaders held on for a famous victory.

The BBC reported that Ajax Captain De Ligt spoke after the game and was delighted with his side's performance. "It's bizarre, not normal. I have no words for it! We have shown once again that we are very strong and that we can make it difficult for large teams. We have defeated Real and Juventus, two intended title candidates. We are very proud, the supporters are proud, the city is proud."

The BBC also reported that Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri conceded that Ajax were the better side. "Football is vicious, as you concede a fortuitous goal, the fear sets in, we got stretched out in the second half and should've had a different approach."

Ajax fully deserved their result and qualification to the semi-finals.