Danny Rose

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Ajax takes 1st leg lead at Spurs

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  • Just 3 combined shots on target
  • Van de Beek nets lone marker
  • Spurs with 51 percent possession

Spurs couldn’t find the goal in a 1-0 loss to Ajax in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday.

Donny van de Beek scored a 15th minute goal to give Ajax its win, with the second leg set for May 8 at Amsterdam Arena.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Van de Beek’s goal was a pretty bit of play, aided by Danny Rose‘s jump out of position.

The 22-year-old, who also scored against Juventus in the second leg of the quarterfinals, zipped through the box to meet a terrific pass from Hakim Ziyech.

Van de Beek faked a right-footed shot before using his actual effort to beat Hugo Lloris for 1-0.

Spurs were seemingly set to suffer a heavy loss when Jan Vertonghen was bloodied and dazed, but he was allowed to return to the match.

There were moments for Spurs, with Dele Alli perhaps the liveliest of the attackers.

The second best chance of the game was also Ajax’s, as David Neres chipped a shot off the far post which would’ve put Tottenham in a world of hurt.

A late set piece for Spurs saw Toby Alderweireld‘s header of a Christian Eriksen free kick pop over the bar.

Ajax gets early away goal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (video)

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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Ajax away goal achievement: Unlocked.

Donny van de Beek’s 15th minute goal withstood VAR scrutiny to give visitors Ajax a 1-0 lead over Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday in the first leg a UEFA Champions League semifinal.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

In line with center back Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose inexplicably left Van de Beek in a bid to jump a pass that wasn’t coming through his lane.

Maybe he was trying to draw someone offside, but the line didn’t move with him and Ajax has the advantage in North London.

Clever little fake shot by Van de Beek to freeze Hugo Lloris.

UCL Live: Spurs meets Ajax in fascinating semifinal first leg

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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.

Tottenham v. Ajax: Key Battles in UCL semifinal

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Much of the talk ahead of round one between Tottenham v. Ajax is on the big story, of how Tottenham and Ajax’s magical runs have led them to the UEFA Champions League semifinal.

Let’s take a closer look at the story within the story, at some of the key battles on the field that will determine the outcome of the game.


[READ: UCL Preview: Tottenham v. Ajax]

Frenkie de Jong v. Christian Eriksen

This is the obvious matchup, with the current Ajax midfielder facing the former Ajax creator. Eriksen will likely spend a considerable amount of energy tracking de Jong as he looks to hit passes wide and forward, as well as keep the ball moving. At the other end, Eriksen will have to use quick movement to create space around de Jong, who is a strong defender but isn’t known as a true No. 6, and could be beat on the dribble. It will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in this battle.

Danny Rose v. Hakim Ziyech

Along with de Jong and de Ligt, Ziyech is a Dutch-born player who the Netherlands probably wishes it could call up, playing as well as he ever has in his career. The 26-year-old has been tremendous as a winger, especially in the Champions League. He’ll next face Danny Rose and perhaps even Vertonghen. Rose will want to attack at will down the left wing, which could force the creative Ziyech to spend more time defending. However, if Ziyech slips past Rose and can find the ball in space down his right wing, Tottenham will be in big trouble.

Lucas Moura v. Daley Blind/de Ligt

Moura could be the x-factor for Tottenham up top, with no Son or Kane available. The speedy Brazilian has played well in a striker role over the past couple of months, and his speed could keep the centerback duo of Blind and de Ligt honest, as well as putting the attention on Lucas. That could in theory open the door for Llorente to find a pocket of space in the box on a cross from Rose or Kieran Trippier.

Rose slams UEFA, says no interest in coaching in honest racism chat

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In a lengthy interview with Sky Sports, Tottenham and England defender Danny Rose spoke up about the racist abuse he has received in his career and spoke about his future in the game – or lack thereof.

Rose most notably criticized UEFA for its punishment of Montenegro for racist chants directed towards Rose and other players when England visited for a Nations League match in March. UEFA announced Montenegro would play its next home match behind closed doors, to which Rose replied he was “at a loss for words.”

I don’t think it’s a harsh enough punishment,” Rose said. “I’m not surprised. It’s obviously a bit of a shame this is where we’re at now and I just have to get on with it,” the England left-back added. It’s a bit shocking but there’s not much I can do now. I just hope I don’t ever have to play there again and we just have to move on now.”

The ban leaves Montenegro with an empty stadium for a visit from Kosovo for Euro 2020 qualification in early June.

The 28-year-old also said he has “no interest in” earning his coaching badges, calling it a “waste of time” due to the disadvantages black coaches face.

Rose said in early April that he “can’t wait to see the back of” the sport when he retires, and while at the time those comments were taken to mean he was excited to leave his playing days behind, he expanded upon those to say he has no desire to coach as well.

“When I said I wanted to walk away from football, people think I was just talking about the two or three incidents that have happened on the pitch,” Rose said to Sky Sports. “When I said that, I was talking about the lack of black managers in football now, or working upstairs in football clubs. People ask me if I want to do my coaching badges. Why? You are not given a chance, so no, I wouldn’t be looking forward to doing my badges – it is a waste of time. That is what I meant by I am looking forward to calling it day when the time is right.”

Rose pointed at former Tottenham and Arsenal defender Sol Campbell, currently in his first managerial job as boss of League Two side Macclesfield Town, compared to other former players. “No disrespect to League Two, others are at the top end of the Championship, top end of the Premier League for their first jobs, even national teams,” Rose said. “If somebody like Sol Campbell, with his resume, who he has played for, what he has won – possibly at the time there may have been an argument that he was England’s best centre-half – if he has had to go to the bottom of League Two, which I wouldn’t mind doing, and others get to be here, why would I want to do that?”

Steven Gerrard is the most high-profile recent case of a white former player earning a top-level job in his first go, currently in charge of Scottish side Rangers.