ALLIANZ STADIUM (TURIN) – Over 41,000 fans packed into the Allianz Stadium expecting to see Juventus sweep Ajax aside, but it was not to be as Erik Ten Hag masterminded a 2-1 win over the Bianconeri, and passage for his young team into the Champions League semi-finals.
After a 1-1 draw in Amsterdam, things started well for Juventus, with Cristiano Ronaldo heading home just before the half hour, but Donny van de Beek levelled moments later, and Matthijs De Ligt got the Dutch side’s second not long after the hour.
As a result, Ajax will now go on to face the winner of Tottenham Hotspur’s clash with Manchester City.
A cagey start from Ajax allowed Juventus to pin the Dutch side into their own half, though were unable to create any initial chances.
It was Ajax who managed the game’s first real opportunity after good combination play by Dusan Tadic and David Neres allowed Van de Beek to have a go from close range, but he blasted over the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken by Ronaldo, who found himself free in the penalty area to head home a Miralem Panic corner. However, the lead lasted just six minutes when Van de Beek beat the offside trap and slotted past Wojciech Szczesny.
Early in the second half, Szczesny came to Juventus’ rescue as Neres dribbled towards the penalty area, and found Hakim Ziyech, but his shot was blocked by a strong arm from the Pole.
It seemed as if half time had knocked the momentum of Juventus as Ajax, time after time, forced mistakes, with Van de Beek attempting a spectacular curler into the top corner, which was tipped over the bar by Szczesny.
Moise Kean, who was brought on at half time in place of the injured Paulo Dybala, flashed wide of goal, and also headed straight at Andre Onana.
Another dangerous counter from Ajax had Neres racing down the left side, before finding Tadic with a crossfield ball, but Pjanic was on hand to deflect the ball out for a corner, with Ziyech waiting unmarked at the far post.
That was the warning, just moments later Ajax got their second of the game thanks to De Ligt whose powerful header easily beat Szczesny.
Errors came flooding from the Juve backline and a loose ball found Ziyech and he delicately dinked the ball over Leonardo Bonucci, into the path of Neres, but he was unable to get his shot on target.
Ajax thought they had the tie won when Ziyech smashed into the top corner, but referee Clement Turpin ruled it out for offside.
Try as they might, Juventus were unable to fashion any clear cut chances as they went searching for two goals, and even with Cristiano Ronaldo, they failed in their quest for Champions League glory.