Champions League: Giant-killer Ajax looking for away advantage at Tottenham

Ajax's scintillating form in all competitions will look to pose all kinds of problems to stuttering Tottenham


Ajax are surprise Champions League semi-finalist having beaten Real Madrid and Juventus on its way.   -  Getty Images

Ajax will look to leave London with an away goal advantage when it takes on Tottenham Hotspur at its new stadium in the Champions League semifinal first-leg on Tuesday, with its sights set on qualifying for the summit clash for the first time since 1996.

The Dutch side will look to continue its sparkling away form having scored 10 away goals in the tournament so far, which included a 4-1 drubbing of defending champion Real Madrid in the Round of 16 and a 2-1 quarterfinal second-leg win against Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus at Turin.

READ | Tottenham vs Ajax in Opta numbers

Midfielder Donny van de Beek has been the biggest contributor, scoring five in Ajax's eight away matches. All eyes will be on Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong, who has manned the midfield with an exceptional 90% pass completion rate.

The Eredivisie leader's form compares better to its Tuesday's host having lost only two of its past 15 matches. Ajax has scored a Dutch record of 160 goals across all competition in 2018/19, shattering AZ Alkmaar's 1980/81 mark of 158. Ajax also arrive in London fresher as the Dutch FA (KNVB) has been kind enough to postpone an entire weekend of fixtures to aid the team's Champions League aspirations.

READ| Ten Hag urges maturity from Ajax ahead of Tottenham semifinal

Tottenham has done exceptionally well in blunting Manchester City's star-studded attack in the previous home fixture in the Champions League to win 1-0. However, the latest 0-1 defeat to West Ham United in the league, its first loss at the new stadium, exposed the Spurs' weaknesses.

Lucas Moura will have to shoulder the scoring responsibility in the absence of injured Harry Kane and suspended Son Hueng-min, who scored thrice across two legs against Manchester City to seal Spurs' first ever Champions League semifinal.

READ | Pochettino puts spotlight on the 'collective' for Tottenham's Ajax test

Three losses in the past five games will be a cause of concern for Mauricio Pochettino as he tries to steer the North London club to its first European final since the 1984 UEFA Cup (Now Europa League). It will also be interesting to see how Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen, Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen fare against their ex-club

Previous Encounters:

The only European encounter between the two sides was in the 1981/82 European Cup Winners' Cup first round where Spurs won 6-1 on aggregate.

Top Scorers:

Ajax - Dusan Tadic - 6

Tottenham - Harry Kane - 5

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