A Cristiano Ronaldo goal at the Johan Cruyff Arena has given Juventus a slender advantage in their Champions League quarter-final with Ajax, following a 1-1 draw.
That away goal, cancelled out by a second half David Neres goal, has the Bianconeri in the driving seat marginally, although their performance means that Massimiliano Allegri will be aware there is a great deal still to do.
The home side were vibrant and lively early on, with Hakim Ziyech proving particularly difficult to deal with and he almost found a way to goal on 18 minutes, only for Wojciech Szczesny to deny him with a fine save.
Confidence was high among the hosts, who moved the ball well without ever truly troubling a Juventus side who did appear comfortable with the play unfolding in front of them.
Donny van de Beek then spurned a big chance when he made room for himself inside the area and dragged his shot wide, with the misses while on top ultimately coming back to cost Ajax.
In the final minute of the first half, Juventus picked their perfect moment to pounce and hit the front when last 16 hero Ronaldo met compatriot Joao Cancelo’s cross to power a diving header past Andre Onana.
However, the home side deserve great credit for not allowing that strike to hinder them and instantly put it behind them with a leveller at the start of the second half.
Inside 30 seconds after the restart, Neres equalised when he punished Cancelo for losing possession by driving into the box and firing an unstoppable effort into the back of the net.
That instilled the confidence into the Dutch side’s play once more and they continued to probe, with Juve looking uncharacteristically uncomfortable as a result.
However, they remained resolute at the back and indeed almost nicked it in the closing stages when Douglas Costa drilled a fantastic strike off the post but ultimately had to settle for a draw for the first time in 11 Champions League games, with the tie remaining very much open ahead of the second leg in Turin.
AJAX ARE FOR REAL
You would think thumping holders Real Madrid 4-1 away from home would be evidence of their quality but there was still a sense that some underestimated this Ajax side. Let the performance in Amsterdam be proof of their undoubted class. Juventus have a very tough task ahead of them to qualify.
The full-back’s offensive qualities have always been clear. He showed as much with his assist for Ronaldo’s goal. But defensively, there are still some nagging doubts about him at the highest level. The lapse in concentration for Ajax’s equaliser infuriated his coach and with him many fans across the globe.