For the first time after 1997, Ajax entered the Champions League semi-finals with the aid of teenage captain Matthijs de Ligt’s goal which eliminated Juventus from the race.
After a 1-1 first-leg draw, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 28th-minute header to put Juventus ahead but Donny van de Beek leveled for Ajax before half time.
Midway through the second leg, teenage center-back De Ligt struck to seal a 3-2 aggregate victory. They will soon face either Manchester City or Spurs in the semifinals.
“It’s bizarre, it’s not normal. I have no words for it”, commented the 19-year-old De Ligt to the media.
“We have shown once again that we are very strong and that we can really make it difficult for the large teams. We have beaten Real and Juventus, two intended title candidates. I wasn’t born last time we reached the semis.”
Juventus was hoping to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the 3rd time in the past 5 seasons but their race was put or halt by the young Dutch side.
“Ajax deserved to qualify. We could have done better but Ajax aren’t coming out of nowhere, they were Europa League finalists two years ago and scored five goals against real”, said Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri.