The Champions League continues to provide the ultimate sense of drama, as Ajax denied Cristiano Ronaldo a sixth Champions League winners medal after dumping Juventus out at the quarter-final stage 3-2 on aggregate.

After a pretty uninspiring start to the game, ​Ronaldo – or Mr ​Champions League as he should perhaps be known – broke the deadlock on 28 minutes, after being afforded the freedom of the Ajax penalty area to head Miralem Pjanic’s corner home – with a VAR check seeing no reason to disallow the goal. 

It’s only his 126th goal in the competition. Only. 

Ajax, however, hadn’t read the script, as the Dutch side were back on level terms with an immediacy that suggested they wouldn’t go down without a fight. 

The fearless Eredivisie side had Donny van de Beek to thank for an ice-cool finish on 34 minutes to put the tie back in the balance. 


Just seven minutes after the restart and Ajax almost found themselves in dreamland. 

Hakim Ziyech found himself with just the keeper to beat, but Wojciech Szczesny – yes the former ‘have a smoke in the shower’ Arsenal stopper – was equal to it to produce a fine stop, before producing an even better to tip Van De Beek’s effort over four minutes later. 

With two further chances coming and going for Ajax, it seemed as if their moment to seize the initiative had passed them by. 

That was until Matthijs de Ligt came along to write his name into the history books.

David Neres almost put the tie, against Juventus in case you forgot, to bed on 74 minutes, but he could only scuff his finish, while Ziyech thought he scored a screamer on 79 minutes, only to see it ruled out for offside.

Ajax did have to survive a late shout of handball against Daley Blind, which would’ve given Juve a sniff of an unlikely fightback late on, but VAR was having none of it – despite fans being divided on the call.


Ajax, though, held on to the 2-1 win to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, with Erik ten Hag’s clearly hungry and ready to take on Europe’s best.

Manchester City or Tottenham, good luck. You’ll need it.