UCL: Ajax upsets Juventus to reach first Champions League semi since 1997

Follow live score and updates from the Champions League quarterfinal second-leg between Juventus and Ajax.

Hello and welcome to the live updates of the Champions League quarterfinal second-leg match between Juventus and Ajax.

 

Here are the starting XIs

Juventus: Szcesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Can, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Dybala, Ronaldo.

Ajax: Onana; Veltmen, De Ligt, Van de Beek, Blind, Neres, Tadic, Mazroui, Schone, De Jong, Ziyech.

 

Kick-off is at 12:30am IST/8:30pm CET. Stay tuned for live updates and commentary.

Road to semifinals

Juventus can go through if it wins or the match finishes in a goalless draw (0-0).

Ajax can go through if it wins or if the match finishes in a draw where it scores at least two goals.  (For example, a 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 result)

A 1-1 scored draw would mean extra time.


Despite a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Amsterdam, Juventus goes into the second-leg in Turin with an away goal advantage. The young Ajax players are not strangers to second-leg comebacks. They overturned a 2-1 deficit against Real Madrid in the round of 16, defeating it on a 5-3 aggregate after winning the second leg 4-1. Juventus will be hoping it doesn't get to that point and will be banking on Cristiano Ronaldo to be at his best.

Read the match preview below. There are interesting facts involving these two teams.

Juventus' old guard bidding to finish job against Ajax

Cristiano Ronaldo will spearhead Juventus’ old guard as it looks to finish the job on Tuesday against Ajax’s impressive young guns in a quarterfinal second-leg clash between two sides desperate to end years of Champions League heartbreak.

Juventus has the edge on away goals thanks to Ronaldo’s 125th Champions League goal in a 1-1 draw in Amsterdam, but Ajax’s David Neres ensured the teams will start on a knife-edge in Turin in a repeat of the 1973 and 1996 finals.

Juventus has put its bid to wrap up an eighth consecutive Serie A title on the back burner as it focuses on its European ambitions.

Massimiliano Allegri lined out with a young squad against lowly SPAL on Saturday and the champion fell to a 2-1 defeat when a point would have sufficed for another Scudetto.

"The Scudetto will come sooner or later," said Allegri, whose side holds a 17-point lead on second-placed Napoli with six games left.

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"If we had put all our starters in, it would have been easier to win it, but there is the goal to obtain on Tuesday."

Juventus has won the Champions League twice, most recently in 1996 when it beat Ajax in the final.

Four-time winner Ajax won its third consecutive title in 1973 at the expense of Juventus, last lifting the trophy in 1995.

Allegri said he was prepared for "a difficult match against a very impressive team."

Ajax's David Neres celebrates scoring the equaliser in the 46th minute against Juventus in the quarterfinal first-leg.   -  UEFA Champions League Twitter

 

Ronaldo was rested at the weekend along with regulars Leonardo Bonucci, Blaise Matuidi, Alex Sandro, Mario Mandzukic and Miralem Pjanic.

Teenager Moise Kean’s fine form continued with the 19-year-old scoring his sixth goal in as many games.

Captain Giorgio Chiellini, however, remains a doubt with the 34-year-old defender recovering from a calf injury, with Daniele Rugani a possible replacement.

READ | Ajax handed boost on De Jong's fitness for Juventus game

But Ronaldo remains Juve’s key weapon.

The 34-year-old was signed for 100 million euros ($117 million) last summer, and pocketed an annual 31 million-euro salary to help Juventus win a competition it has finished runners-up in a record seven times, most recently in 2015 and 2017.

Daniele Rugani will most likely start for injured Giorgio Chiellini against Ajax.   -  Getty Images

 

Ronaldo has played a leading role in all of his five previous European triumphs, including with the tie-clinching, 97th-minute penalty for Real Madrid against Juventus last season in the quarters.

He has scored five goals this campaign, one against Manchester United and a hat-trick which rescued Juventus in the last 16, second leg against Atletico, before returning from injury to score against Ajax.

- Experience vs Exuberance -

The financial clout of Dutch league leader Ajax is significantly less than Juventus. The club, which is captained by 19-year-old defender Matthijs de Ligt, spent a reported club-record 45 million euros last summer on new signings to bolster its Champions League hopes.

Defensive midfielder Daley Blind arrived from Manchester United, and forward Dusan Tadic from Southampton, to provide leadership for a young squad where the average age is 24 years.

Ajax winger Dusan Tadic arrived from Southampton to add experience to a young forward line.   -  Getty Images

 

Ajax’s strike-force of 22-year-old Neres, Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech have proven effective this season. Veteran Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, 35, also hit form with a hat-trick in a 6-2 win over Excelsior in the Dutch league at the weekend. Neres stole the limelight with his seventh goal in eight games against Juventus in Amsterdam, but Barcelona-bound De Jong was outstanding in midfield.

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Both teams produced memorable second-leg comebacks in the round of 16.Ajax overturned a 2-1 home defeat by Real Madrid to oust the three-time holder with a stunning 4-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu to reach its first quarter-final since 2003. Ronaldo’s hat-trick rescued Juventus, which lost 2-0 against Atletico Madrid in Spain.

While Juve is looking to reach a third semi-final in five seasons, Ajax has not made it to the last four since 1997. The winner would go through to a semi-final against the winner of the all-English tie between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.