Pochettino's dream turns sour as Spurs misfire against Ajax

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

"It was an even game in the second half".

Ajax claimed another big Champions League victory as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur in their semi-final first leg, disregarding the financial disparities between the two sides to put one foot firmly in the final.

Donny van de Beek's early goal set the tone for a dominant first half display from Ajax, and although Spurs did improve and had a few chances, they just couldn't impose themselves on the Dutch giants.

Harry Kane (injured) and Son Heung-min (suspended) were both missing for Spurs and their absence was felt going forward.

It was Van de Beek who opened the scoring in the 15th minute. We help you discover publicly available material and act as a search engine. But they couldn't find a momentum-changing equalizer despite a few decent looks at goal.

Son will be back for the trip to Amsterdam next Wednesday and Spurs will hope the South Korean can repeat his double away to City in the last eight, but Ajax are in pole position for a final against Barcelona or Liverpool come June 1 in Madrid.

After the game the Tottenham coach admitted that he got his first-half tactics wrong.

"Sissoko provided the team with good energy and we started to play in the way we wanted to from the beginning".

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He suffered a groin injury during the quarter-final second leg tie at Manchester City on April 17, but returned to training on Monday.

Ajax's latest golden generation of future superstars - who deservedly eliminated three-time defending champ Real Madrid and then Cristiano Ronaldo-led Italian titans Juventus to reach the final four - basically played the Premier Leaguers off the pitch for most of the match at spanking new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Ajax hold the record for the most number of titles, five ahead of Feyenoord on 18, though a loss this time will mean that it will have been at least a decade since they last won the trophy, and the third successive loss having got to a final.

Spurs were forced to ride their luck - Ajax hit the woodwork while Hugo Lloris made an excellent stop to deny a Van de Beek brace.

As the clock ticked towards half time, Tottenham finally began to stamp its authority on the midfield - thanks largely to the recently introduced Sissoko - and Toby Alderweireld, another former Ajax boy, saw his header float agonizingly over the crossbar.

Which side are you backing to advance to the Champions League final, Spurs or Ajax?

Yet in his determination to impress, particularly with added pressure to his place at club and global level, rash sliding challenges are creeping into his game. The Brazilian's left-footed chance beat a flat-footed Lloris, but it bounced off the far post, staying out and keeping the score at 1-0.

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