Lucas Moura scored three times in the second half to lead Tottenham Hotspur to a 3-2 victory over Ajax in Amsterdam, a result that will send Spurs through to the Champions League final for the first time in club history.
Tottenham and Ajax finished the two legs with a 3-3 aggregate score, but Tottenham advanced to the final based on away goals.
Ajax Dominates First Half
In the first half of the second leg, it looked as though Ajax would have little trouble putting away their English visitors. Ajax came into the match with a 1-0 lead from the first leg, and quickly extended their advantage when Matthijs de Ligt converted a corner in the fifth minute, rising above the Tottenham defense to head in the first goal of the night.
While both teams generated scoring opportunities, Ajax appeared to have the best of the play, and their advantage increased when Hakim Ziyech made it 2-0 on the night in the 35th minute. Ziyech took a pass from Dasan Tadic and fired it across the net, past a sprawling Hugo Lloris and into the top right corner.
With Ajax seemingly in control, Tottenham entered the second half needing three goals to advance – assuming they could keep the Dutch side off the board.
Moura Sparks Unlikely Tottenham Comeback
Then, suddenly, Tottenham was back in the match. Moura made a long run down the center of the pitch in the 54th minute, taking a ball from Dele Alli and slotting it home to put Spurs on the board. Four minutes later, it was Moura scoring again, taking several small touches after a great save from Andre Onana before bending a shot into the net.
The match now hung in the balance, as a third Tottenham goal would see the club go to the final on away goals. Both teams squandered opportunities to score next, with each side seeing opportunities to score denied by near misses, brilliant saves, and unfriendly posts.
As the match went into five minutes of added time, it looked as though Spurs had run out of chances. But Lloris made a brilliant save to keep Tottenham in the match. The action then turned towards the Ajax goal again, with Lucas finding himself on the end of an Alli pass yet again, then firing home his third goal of the match right as the clock showed five minutes of extra time.
Ajax was able to push the ball into the Tottenham box one last time after the restart, but failed to generate a good chance. When the final whistle blew, it was Spurs going through, while Ajax’s players stared in disbelief at what had occurred over the final 45 minutes.
“It was a ridiculous game,” Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen told BT Sport after the match. “We were far down and fought back, and we were just lucky. I feel sorry for Ajax, because they played better football than us over two games. But we created more chances. We were lucky and we scored. It’s a relief, and it’s great to be in the Champions League final.”
The match marked the second straight incredible comeback for an English side in the Champions League semifinals, as Liverpool won 4-0 against Barcelona on Tuesday to erase a 3-0 deficit from the first leg.
Liverpool will enter the Champions League final, which takes place on June 1, as a clear favorite. William Hill has opened Liverpool as an 8/15 choice to win the title, while Tottenham are being offered at 6/4 to win their first ever European championship.