Tottenham to face Liverpool in Champions League final at Real-Madrid Stadium Estadio Bernabeu on June 1 thanks to Lucas Moura hat-trick.
Half an hour after the full-time whistle and some Ajax fans still haven’t moved. They are rubbing their faces and this nightmare is running through their minds on a loop.
The floor underneath is now sticky. It’s been pelted with gallons of beer that’s dried in. There’s a reason they serve it in plastic cups in stadiums.
You might expect anger but there’s none there, yet. They will be angry when they come to terms with it. They will look back on posts hit and spaces emptied and mistakes made.
Maybe it was nerves for Ajax; maybe it was that they realised they were tantalisingly close to the most important match this club has played in the best part of a quarter century.
Whatever it was, they came down suddenly with what will henceforth be known as a case of the Wijnaldums; succumbing to two pistol-shot goals at the start of the second half of a Champions League semi-final which threaten to invert the order of things.
For Gini last night, read Lucas Moura tonight.
But where Liverpool had largely played the better football over two legs, Spurs were given a runaround. Where Liverpool were unlucky, Spurs only had themselves to blame.
They lost two first-half goals here in Amsterdam and the jig appeared up.
It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint exactly where matches like this are won and lost. But for sure Ajax were looking at the big stadium clocks and hoping the seconds would go by twice as quick. They tried coming out, they even hit the post.
But there was a sense of inevitability from the moment Lucas swept a ball home on the break. He was found expertly by Dele Alli, both of whom now have a chance of being recognised as this competition’s best player.
Andre Onana’s mix-up gave the Brazilian the chance to repeat the trick and ensure Spurs needed only one.
That’s when the beer showers started. The anger in the stands was showing and the mentality on the field was a long way away from what was required.
The board went up. Five minutes. Onana was handed an under-inflated ball to restart play with a late goal kick. Ajax made another mess of holding possession and Lucas had his chance.
The pocket of Spurs fans in the corner could scarcely believe what they were seeing. Their team had just earned a place in their first-ever Champions League final.
And how? Who knows.