UCL Live: Spurs meets Ajax in fascinating semifinal first leg

Associated Press
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For the first Champions League match held in the new stadium, the win over Manchester City was something to savor. It was hyped up, it was loud, and Spurs won a famous victory.

For the second match held in the new stadium, the stakes are even higher.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Tottenham vies for its first-ever place in the Champions League final as it begins a two-leg adventure against Dutch side Ajax in London. Both sides are as battle tested as they come, with Ajax having downed Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus plus defending champions Real Madrid, and Spurs knocking off Premier League powerhouse Manchester City.

While Ajax is on a dream run featuring young future stars like Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, Tottenham comes into this match as potential underdogs thanks to the brutal list of unavailable players. With Harry Kane likely done for most – if not all – of the season, behind him in-form striker Heung-Min Son is suspended due to yellow card accumulation, leaving Fernando Llorente up front. Dele Alli is fit to start in midfield, while Moussa Sissoko only returns from his groin injury with a place on the bench. A banged up Jan Vertonghen recovers enough for a spot in the starting lineup, while Erik Lamela does not appear in the squad while still recovering from his hamstring injury. Harry Winks and Serge Aurier also miss out with fitness problems.

Mauricio Pochettino opts for a three-CB system with Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld, and Vertonghen all in the lineup, utilizing Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier as wing-backs to provide superior width against an Ajax side whose one weakness has been the performance of their full-backs. Look for Alli and Lucas Moura to press the Ajax midfielders hard to win the ball back.

LINEUPS

Tottenham: Lloris; Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Trippier, Wanyama, Alli, Rose; Eriksen; Moura, Llorente.
Bench: Gazzaniga, Dier, Walker-Peters, Sissoko, Foyth, Davies, Skipp.

Ajax: Onana; Veltman, de Ligt, Blind, Tagliafico; Schone, De Jong, van de Beek; Ziyech, Tadic, Neres.
Bench: Varela, Sinkgraven, Huntelaar, Mazraoui, Magallan, Dolberg, de Wit.