Giant-slayers Ajax can go all the way

Ajax Amsterdam scored a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the semi final in the Champions League against Tottenham in London. (Reuters pic)

THE HAGUE: Ajax’s fairy-tail season continues with a Champions League final now “within reach”, Dutch media gushed on Wednesday following the Amsterdam underdogs’ 1-0 victory over Tottenham in London.

“Finals are in sight,” headlined popular daily tabloid De Telegraaf after Donny van de Beek’s early goal on Tuesday night pushed Ajax one step closer to the possibility for the first time in 23 years.

“The road to the Champions League final lies open for Ajax,” the paper said, adding coach “Erik ten Hag’s eleven in the first half gave a masterclass performance.”

“The second half was more difficult… but the only thing the Amsterdammers could be held accountable for is that they did not score more goals to make moot a home game on May 8,” said De Telegraaf.

“The Amsterdam fairy-tale is alive and well after a 1-0 victory,” the daily tabloid Algemeen Dagblad said.

“Ajax has conquered much of Europe and now also England… where Erik ten Hag treated the football power elites with disdain.”

“Ajax can is smell a Champions League final. In the time of oil dollars and extreme broadcast fees this is nothing short of a miracle,” it said.

Writing in the De Volkskrant, top Dutch football journalist Willem Vissers said “thanks to a first half-hour of magic Ajax is now close to the Valhalla of club football: the Champions League final on June 1 in Madrid.”

But “Tottenham was much stronger in the second half,” despite David Neres’ rare shot at goal which rebounded off the post.

“Ajax, which against both Real Madrid and Juventus was superior in the second half, dragged itself home with a bit of luck, to the second game on May 8 in Amsterdam,” Vissers said.

“The final beckons, but the matter is far from being settled,” Vissers warned