Champions League, 1/4 finals

Juventus 1-2 Ajax   


Ajax already won Real Madrid and did so in second leg of the tie in an away match, but it seems Juventus wanted to learn his own lesson. Ajax already made big noise trashing Madrid out of Champions league but one thing is the unstable Real Madrid, which had a temporary head coach, something else is Juventus, whose coach is perhaps the best tactician in all Europe and perhaps the only one that can be found who knows how to outscore Barcelona, on his home field.

The team managed by Den Hag once again showed that the visitors can play the same aggressive football, which they successfully did in Amsterdam. Although Juventus have Ronaldo, who moved here with astronomical money as a solving player in such situations, then Ajax has both De Light and De Jong, who, unlike the Portuguese star, are thirsty and every game improves their qualities.

The start of the game was tense, full of physical play, teams were eager to act cautiously and did not want to commit mistakes. In such a situation a dangerous moment was created by Can. Can's pressure on Ajax's goalkeeper made him to commit a mistake and hit the ball straight on him, which lead to almost scoring an own goal.

Juventus, as the owner of the field, had a small influence and the initiative, but did not create any real chances. Bernardeschi's strike is memorable perhaps that was it. Soon Ajax equalized the game and made attempts to threaten Juventus. For a long time, there was a balance in the game, none of the teams had any advantage.

In the middle of the match, Ajax created the first real goal scoring opportunity of the match. Neres made a beautiful pass using his backheel, after a poor shot, the ball reached to Van der Beek, which hit strong and too high from short distance. Although referees also called offside. Juventus responded with Ronaldo's dangerous strike, after which fans of Juventus forgot about their protests and became more active. The point is that the management of Juventus has increased the cost of the tickets which did not make home fans pleased.

When the game is equal it comes down to personal skill level and talent. On the 28th minute, Juventus got the corner kick which was perfectly headed in by the Portuguese star 1-0 Juventus took the lead. Although referee had to use VAR to confirm the goal. Main reason was Ajax player falls during the corner kick, but VAR confirmed the goal and replays showed that he was pushed by his own teammate.

Ajax did not get discouraged. They had to score two goals anyway to advance to the next round. The Dutch equalized the score quickly. After the shot on the goal, the ball hit the defender and went to Van der Beek, who showed marvelous skill to send the ball to the bottom corner of the goal. The replay showed that there was no offside VAR confirmed the goal and the score leveled up.

Wanting to prove that what was happening is misunderstanding, Juventus started to push forward to score and control the game once more. However, Ajax was defending well and successfully using his chances to counter attack which looked by far more dangerous then Juventus attacks.

 In the second half, Allegri introduced Moise Kean instead of Dibala, but this move did not change anything. Even worse, Ajax took over the initiative. Van de Beek was especially active, and there was a great chance for Schöne.

Ajax was pressing more and more and soon it became clear that Juventus is in great trouble. The defense of Juventus began to crack. After Ajax's attack, a great combination seemed to be deadly, but the goalkeeper saved the certain goal from Ziyech shot. Van der Beek’s shot was an almost goal, but the Polish goalkeeper was again the hero of the moment.

Surprisingly, Juventus was only defending. Even Ronaldo had disappeared, and when Tadic and Neres had another dangerous moment at the goal, Allegri finally decided that the time had come to make changes. Instead of De Sciglio, Cancelo came into the field, but it did not work. Ajax increased the pressure and took the lead after the corner kick. Dutch rising star de Ligt jumped high defeated two opponents in the air and headed the ball into the net, 1-2.

To reach the semifinals, Juventus had to score two goals, while the game showed that even scoring a single goal to Ajax was extremely difficult. Of course, Juventus tried to take the game into his hands, but their actions were far from effective. Although, more dangerous moments were created at the goals of the Juve. Ziyech even managed to score from pretty good shot, but the referees called offside and even VAR confirmed it. Another great moment was Tadic's strike which was also dangerous.

 Juventus tried to attack with more intense and more players, but Ajax was coolly defending and with the same consistency trying to find luck in counter attacks.

In the 90th minute, moment of hope came for Juve’s fans when Bentancur's shot hit the hand of Blind in the penalty box. Although the replay’s showed that the ball first hit the chest then the hand of Blind and since the distance between two were close referee decided there were no intentional hand play so no penalty kick, even VAR confirmed it.

That was it for Juventus they did not even had anything left in them to go all in at the final minutes of the game. Ajax took well deserved winner with outperforming and outclassing Juventus and will meet either Tottenham or Manchester City in semifinals.


Vahan Tovmasyan

Armen Malkhasyan

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