The vibrant, young Dutch side showed not just Total Football but Total Domination and Spurs were lucky to get away with just a 1-0 defeat.
It was the North Londoners worst performance at home since erm Saturday. Mauricio Pochettino’s men were missing their two best players in the injured Harry Kane and suspended Son Heung-min and the Argentine managers’ pre-match bluster about still having enough firepower was exactly that – hot air.
God loves a trier and Kane’s replacement Fernando Llorente is certainly that. He covers every blade of grass but that’s only because his first touch is crap.
Dele Alli – expected to step up a show he’s as good as he thinks he is – played like he was too busy thinking about the boohoo men’s summer 19 range or which Fortnite celebration he could rip off next.
Ajax played their way through Spurs with Hakim Ziyech finding Donny van de Beek, who with all the time in the world stroked the ball past a helpless Hugo Lloris. David Neres also hit a post so it could have been even worse for the hosts.
The London club’s medical staff also did not cover themselves in glory after Jan Vertonghen clashed heads with team-mate Toby Alderweireld and smashed his face up. He was staggering around covered in blood yet was patched up and sent back on. Straight away he was in trouble and had to be supported as he threw up with his legs buckling – so much for concussion protocols. It takes 10 days to recover from such head trauma so it will not be a good look if the Belgian plays in the second leg in Amsterdam.
Spurs are really up against if they are to make their first Champions League final as only one of the last 17 teams to lose a first leg semi-final at home has reached the final and that was Ajax . . .23 years ago.
Despite the young age of most of the Ajax players, ironically it looked like men against boys. Tottenham need to remember not to trust children – they’re here to replace us!
LIONEL MESSI inspired Barcelona to 3-0 victory in the other semi-final with a free-kick of such majesty you just had to applaud.
To rub salt in the wound chippy old boy Luis Suarez scored a brilliant dinked opener and Messi scored a killer second when Liverpool were on top at the Nou Camp.
Messi finally broke his duck against the Reds 14 years to the day that he bagged his first Barcelona goal.
Sadly for much of the contest the home side resorted to dives, snide digs and fake injuries leaving you feeling that their playacting and expectation of getting every decision outweighs any beauty in their football.
Even Argentinian maestro Messi disappointingly rolled comically down the sideline after one shoulder-to-shoulder challenge with James Milner.
Incredibly these two European giants – both five-time winners of the competition – have only been drawn together five times.
The Reds triumphed in 1976, 2001 and 2007, while Barca boasting the likes of Rivaldo, Patrick Kluivert and Xavi won in 2002.
Jurgen Klopp’s will take heart from the way his side rattled Barca in a way few are good enough to do so but it will take an effort of Istanbul-like proportions next week to turn this tie around.
TOTTENHAM, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United continue to perform like a bunch of drunks fighting in a car park at closing time.
The tragic quartet are flailing around failing miserably to land a blow on each other in a comical ‘race’ for the top four. Collectively they are as useful as a trap door on a canoe.
In the last 10 games top two Manchester City and Liverpool have taken 56 points, which is just two less than the other four put together! Tottenham have been the worst culprits for squandering points (20) yet incredible are clinging onto third place. Spurs also lost their 100% new home record when Michael Antonio scored and West Ham won 1-0.
Six weeks ago their fans laughingly insisted they could win the title – now they are 22 points behind City. Talk about bottlers! If any Spurs fan has the front to make a snide comment about whichever magnificent team finishes second, please remind them of this fact.
Same goes for Manchester United supporters – that strange breed who at the start of the season insisted Fred was miles better than Fabinho and Alexis Sanchez didn’t pick money over success by signing for them and not the recent serial winners on the other side of town.
Against Chelsea in a drab 1-1 draw, Red Devils keeper David De Gea dropped his third massive clanger in four games – incredibly as many as he managed in his previous 123 between United’s posts. Whether his head has been turned by PSG, Juventus or Real Madrid; he is still fuming the club won’t give him pay parity with flop Sanchez or he’s just having a run of form all keepers dread is up for debate.
One of the few positives at Old Trafford is they have the best back-up keeper in the league in Sergio Romero but with final games against terrible two Huddersfield and Cardiff he is unlikely to get the nod.
De Gea deserves his club’s backing as he has been United’s best player for years – dump him when he needs support the most and that might make his mind up about leaving to seek a fresh challenge.
Arsenal’s away day woes continued with a 3-0 loss at Leicester – Emery must be bored of it all by now. But the Gunners boss was rightly fuming as two soft bookings saw Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent off after 36 minutes with the scores 0-0.
Hope is not lost as the Gunners are just two points outside the top four with two winnable games against Brighton and Burnley remaining.
Going forward their supporters can also cling to the fact that they already have more points than in Arsene Wenger’s final season and they have a Europa League semi-final against Valencia to look forward to.
The season could yet end with a tasty final against Chelsea – if the Blues also get past Eintracht Frankfurt.
AND finally Sir Mo did Brand Farah no favours this week with an ugly on-going row with fellow Olympian Haile Gebrselassie and an underwhelming London Marathon effort where he finished fifth.
Amid the claims and denials of stolen personal belongings at a hotel owned by Gebrselassie one thing stands out that shows the character of the man. The poor chambermaid jailed and then released in Ethiopia in passing revealed millionaire Mo never left a tip in all the times he stayed.
For those thinking why should he, perhaps you should be asking yourself why shouldn’t he. His PR-polished public image rarely stands up to scrutiny – tight as a wet boot, springs to mind.
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