Ajax have one foot in the Europa League final after an excellent 4-1 win over Lyon in the Amsterdam Arena. 

For the first time since 1997 the Amsterdam Arena, soon to be Johan Cruijff Arena, was hosting an Ajax semi-final in a European competition. The atmosphere was electric in the stadium but it seemed Ajax’s youthful side (average age of 21) was in for a difficult night as Lyon controlled the first 20 minutes. However, the French side couldn’t turn their dominance into goals with Andre Onana denying Cornet before Tolisso shot wide.

Out of nowhere, Ajax took the lead on 25 minutes when an Hakim Ziyech free kick was flicked into the net by Bertrand Traore. That ignited Ajax and less then ten minutes later Traore won a header to set Kasper Dolberg in on goal and the young Dane smashed his shot past Anthony Lopes and into the bottom corner. The half could and should have ended 3-0 for the hosts but Amin Younes couldn’t beat Lopes when in on goal.

The half could and should have ended 3-0 for the hosts but Amin Younes couldn’t beat Lopes when in on goal. However, four minutes into the second half the winger made up for his miss with a strike that Lopes got a hand to but couldn’t stop from just crossing the line.

Matthieu Valbuena pulled one back for Lyon on 66 minutes with a strike from the edge of the box and Andre Onana then had to make a great save to deny Nabil Fekir. Any nerves in the Arena were quickly squashed by Ajax as they restored their three-goal lead on 71 minutes. A lovely team move ended with Ziyech crossing for Traore to tap in his second.

The last 20 minutes then saw Ajax create several chances to kill Lyon off but in the end they had to settle for just a 4-1 lead.

It was another excellent performance in Europe by Ajax and a big boost for Dutch football. Peter Bosz’s side are now just 90 minutes away from the final in Stockholm. The second leg takes place next Thursday at 8.05pm.




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