When the Juventus star(Cristiano Ronaldo) scored his 126th Champions League goal in the first half it seemed unimaginable that he would not remain the only reigning champion in this season’s renewal.
But Ajax — conquerors of holders Real Madrid in the last round — were never going to surrender to convention and thanks to goals from Donny van de Beek, 21, and captain Matthijs de Ligt, just 19, it is they who will face the winners of Manchester and Spurs in the last four.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Juventus XI: Szczesny; De Sciglio (Cancelo 64), Bonucci, Rugani, Sandro; Can, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi (Bentancur 80), Dybala (Kean 46), Ronaldo
Subs: Barzagli, Khedira, Pinsoglio, Spinazzola
Goal: Ronaldo 28
Booked: Can, Ronaldo
Ajax XI: Onana; Veltman, De Ligt, Blind, Mazraoui (Sinkgraven 11, Magallan 82); Schone, De Jong; Ziyech (Huntelaar 88), Van de Beek, Neres; Tadic
Subs: De Wit, Dolberg, Varela, Ekkelenkamp
Goal: Van de Beek 34, De Ligt 67
It was deserved. Not for what had gone before, but for what followed. Juventus were rattled as this vibrant Ajax side — the youngest left in the competition with an average age of 24 — set after a winner in normal time.
They would have had one sooner had it not been for the claws of Wojciech Szczesny, the Juventus goalkeeper producing a pair of flying saves to deny Ziyech and Van de Beek.
But Szczesny was helpless as De Ligt rose to meet Lasse Schone’s out-swinging corner on 67 minutes to send Ajax into the last four for the first time in 22 years.