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Juventus 1 Ajax 2 (2-3 agg): Van de Beek, De Ligt complete incredible comeback

Ajax dumped Juventus out of the Champions League as a stunning 2-1 second-leg victory at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday completed a famous 3-2 quarter-final triumph.

Donny van de Beek and Matthijs de Ligt scored either side of half-time to overturn Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener and send the Eredivisie side through to the last four of the competition for the first time since 1997.

The Bianconeri appeared on course to progress after Ronaldo, on target in last week’s 1-1 draw in Amsterdam, nodded them ahead in contentious circumstances.

But Erik ten Hag’s thrilling young side took command thereafter and collected another high-profile scalp having already ended Real Madrid’s reign in the previous round.

Ajax lost Noussair Mazraoui, deputising for suspended left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, to an early ankle injury and fortune further abandoned them in the 28th minute.

Leonardo Bonucci’s arm to the face of a stumbling Joel Veltman went unpunished despite a VAR review, meaning Ronaldo’s thumping header from Miralem Pjanic’s corner was allowed to stand.

The equaliser arrived in quick time, however. Van de Beek cushioned Hakim Ziyech’s shot and, kept onside by Mattia De Sciglio, tucked away the one-on-one opportunity.

Wojciech Szczesny made two excellent saves, first from Ziyech and then Van de Beek, in a one-sided 20 minutes after the interval, yet the goalkeeper could do nothing about De Ligt’s commanding header, the teenage defender soaring above Alex Sandro and Daniele Rugani.

David Neres fluffed a golden chance to put the tie beyond doubt and the influential Ziyech had a stunner disallowed for offside as Ajax continued to dominate, with Juve’s late appeals for handball against Daley Blind going unheard as the Serie A champions were sensationally knocked out on home turf.

What does it mean? Ronaldo investment fails to pay European dividends

Juve’s intention was clear when they paid Madrid a €112million fee for Ronaldo – to win the Champions League for the first time in 23 years.

However, the competition’s all-time leading scorer will instead have to wait if he is to lift the trophy for a sixth time in his career.

De Ligt continues to deliver

Such a commanding performance from 19-year-old De Ligt – he made a game-high 10 clearances – has become commonplace despite his tender age. It was fitting that a player seemingly bound for the top of the game scored the winner on such a grand stage.

De Sciglio undermines Juve defence

Ajax’s equaliser – and the confidence that coursed through them for the remainder of the contest – might never have eventuated had right-back De Sciglio, starting ahead of Joao Cancelo, not sauntered away from a corner in the first half.

He sleepily kept scorer Van de Beek onside, laying the platform for the away side to build on the equaliser.

What’s next?

Ajax will meet either Tottenham or Manchester City in the semi-finals, the first leg of which is scheduled for either April 30 or May 1.

They will first look to continue their push for Eredivisie glory – they sit level on points with PSV after 30 games – away at Groningen on Saturday, while Juve have the chance to console themselves by wrapping up the Serie A title when they host Fiorentina on the same day.

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Juventus and Ajax set for three-goal thriller

Ajax eliminated Real Madrid in the round of 16 thanks to an emphatic away leg 4-1 win.
Can the Dutch club do the same against Juventus in Turin?

Juventus welcome Ajax to the Allianz Stadium with the tie level at one goal apiece.

The two clubs go into the second leg in very different form. Juventus lost 2-1 at the weekend to SPAL. However, manager Massimiliano Allegri rested many of his key players including Ronaldo.

Juventus will be without injured players Giorgio Chiellini, Martin Caceres, Emre Can, Douglas Costa, and Blaise Matuidi. The injuries are suddenly piling up for Allegri, but the good news is Ronaldo is fully fit.

The Portuguese forward was the difference for the Bianconeri in the first leg. Ronaldo saved Juventus in the prior round thanks to his second leg hat-trick against Atletico. Juventus are riding on Ronaldo’s back much like Real Madrid did for so many years.

Ajax do not have the same injury issues that Juventus do. In fact, manager Erik ten Hag will be able to pick the same starting XI that featured against Juventus last week.

The Dutch club currently lead the Eredivisie and continued their fine form with a 6-2 win over Excelsior at the weekend.

Ajax do not have history on their side. They have not beaten Juventus in their last nine matches. Ajax’s last win against Juventus came all the back in 1973.

But Juventus’ form has dipped at the wrong time. The Bianconeri were not convincing in the first leg as Ajax held their own with the Italian heavyweights.

Ten Hag’s team has shown it can play alongside the best in Europe. Ajax drew twice with Bayern Munich in the group stage before besting Real Madrid over two legs in the last 16. They drew with Juventus in the first leg and will be hungry for more in the second match.

Ajax just need an away goal to shock Juventus, but the problem is the Bianconeri’s No. 7. Ronaldo made the difference for Juventus against Atletico and he will do it again in the quarterfinals against Ajax.

Juventus paid a lot of money for Ronaldo and it is so far paying off. Despite a strong fight from Ajax, Ronaldo’s presence will prove too much as Juventus win with over 2.5 goals scored.

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Ajax turn to Ten Hag to replace Keizer

Erik ten Hag has been appointed as Ajax’s new head coach on a two-and-half-year deal.

Ajax last week suspended boss Marcel Keizer and coaches Hennie Spijkerman and Dennis Bergkamp from active duty due to an underwhelming campaign that has seen them fail to qualify for the Champions League or Europa League – having finished runners-up to Manchester United in the latter last season.

The Amsterdam giants, who last won the Eredivisie in 2014, have now confirmed that Ten Hag with join from Utrecht on January 1 on a deal until June 2020.

Having previously coached Go Ahead Eagles and Bayern Munich’s reserve side, Ten Hag took over Utrecht in 2015. He secured a fifth-place finish and a spot in the KNVB Cup final in his first season.

Earlier this week, he said of the chance to take over at Ajax: “Who would not want to become Ajax manager? I would view Ajax as a tremendous challenge.

“Ajax is the most fascinating club in the Netherlands so of course you are interested in the position.”

Ajax are second in the Eredivisie and trail leaders PSV by five points after 18 matches in the Dutch top flight.

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Ajax suspend coach Keizer, assistants Bergkamp and Spijkerman

Ajax have suspended boss Marcel Keizer and coaches Hennie Spijkerman and Dennis Bergkamp from active duty.

The four-time European champions appointed head coach Keizer as a replacement for Peter Bosz in June, agreeing terms on a two-year deal with an option for one additional season.

But that contract looks set to be ripped up just six months in after it was confirmed on Thursday that the club had, for the time being at least, relieved Keizer, his assistant Spijkerman and club legend Bergkamp of their roles.

Michael Reiziger and Winston Bogarde, previously respective head and assistant coaches of the club’s youth side, will take temporary charge ahead of Sunday’s home meeting with Willem II.

Ajax, last crowned Eredivisie winners in 2014 under Frank de Boer, lost a two-legged Champions League preliminary tie against Nice before being denied a place in the Europa League – which they were runners-up in under Bosz last term – by Rosenborg in August.

The Amsterdam club sit second in the top flight, five points behind PSV after 17 matches. They have won each of their past three league outings, including victories over the leaders and third-placed AZ Alkmaar, but were eliminated from the KNVB Beker by Twente on Wednesday.

“The club leadership will talk to them about terminating their contracts,” read an official Ajax statement.

“The club management does not have enough confidence that the ambitions of Ajax will be realised with them. The disappointing sporting results are also the reason for this decision.

“With Dennis Bergkamp, ​​there is also a difference of opinion about the technical policy to be implemented.”

General manager Edwin van der Sar added: “We had a bad summer and a messy start of the season. From a sporting point of view, European elimination was the low point.

“In particular, [director of football] Marc Overmars and I have frequently spoken in the months afterwards about the continuing volatility of the first team.

“We are not confident that we will achieve the level that we are striving for with Ajax in this way. I regret this. Together with the supervisory board, we as management…are grateful to Marcel, Dennis and Hennie for their efforts for the club.”

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Ajax to cut gap on the Eredivisie leaders

Dutch giants Ajax will hope to cut the gap on Eredivisie leaders PSV on Thursday night, as they host Excelsior at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Ajax are currently third in the Dutch top-flight, having endured an inconsistent start to the league campaign by their high standards.

Marcel Keizer’s side are three points behind second-place AZ, while a further four points behind leaders PSV. However, the home side did record a vital 3-0 win over the leader’s last time out in the Eredivisie.

Ajax have been in good form of late, winning seven of their last nine Eredivisie games. The home side have also been prolific in the Dutch top-flight in their recent games, scoring three or more goals in eight of their last nine outings.

The Dutch giants have won 19 of their last 22 games on home soil in the Eredivisie. However, they have lost two of their last five home games in the Dutch top-flight.

Excelsior are currently 11th place in the Eredivisie, just four points above the relegation zone after a poor run of form. The visitors have now suffered four straight league defeats while conceding two or more goals in all four losses.

Last time out Mitchel van der Gaag’s side suffered a 2-1 home defeat against PEC Zwolle. The visitor’s recent Eredivisie games have been high scoring with over 2.5 goals scored in six of their last eight league outings.

Excelsior have suffered consecutive away defeats in the Eredivisie, after previously winning four out of their five games on their travels.

The visitor’s recent away games in the Eredivisie have been high scoring, with over 2.5 goals scored in seven of their last eight games on their travels.

Ajax are generally strong on home soil, while Excelsior are struggling for form. Forebet predicts that the home side will record a comfortable victory in this clash.