Ajax pulled off another remarkable second-leg comeback on Tuesday night, this time defeating Juventus 2-1 to book their place in the Champions League semi-finals.
Juve took the lead against Ajax when Cristiano Ronaldo headed in from a corner with 28 minutes gone, the goal being confirmed by VAR after suspicions of a foul in the build-up.
But within six minutes the Dutch side had levelled the tie back up through Donny Van De Beek’s goal.
Ajax then grabbed the lead and also the advantage on aggregate with a little over 20 minutes remaining when Matthijs de Ligt powered home a stunning header.
The Dutch side pushed on for a third goal to seal the victory, and although that never came, they ultimately held on to book their spot in the last four at the expense of the Italian giants.
Here’s five talking points from a night to remember in Turin…
1. De Ligt delights
Ajax are resigned to losing their captain this summer; it’s their business model and their 19-year-old skipper just happens to be the best defender of his age anywhere on the planet.
He enjoyed a real coming of age performance in the Bernabeu in the last round and this was another dominant display.
His headed winner will ensure headlines, but it was the nature of his all-round display – cajoling teammates, winning physical battles, being calm in possession and using the ball well – that stood out again.
Mino Raiola, his agent, has another diamond on his hands.
2. Ziyech’s class shines through
The Morocco international midfielder doesn’t have the profile of some of his Dutch colleagues.
But my word he’s some player.
Capable playing wide or centrally, he eases away from opponents in transition, picks up smart positions and boasts a tremendous left foot.
The late strike he had disallowed showed his right isn’t bad either. Arsenal and Bayern have both been linked – he’d be a smart signing for either.
3. Allegri found wanting
It’s not often that Max Allegri can be accused of getting things wrong.
But having seen Juve rather fortunate to come away from the first leg level, it was remarkable to see him so passive here
Ajax were the better side, at 0-0, 1-0, 1-1, and yet he failed to make any telling alteration to get his side on the front foot.
Ultimately, he and his side were punished.
4. Revenge for the 90s
Make no mistake, this was a revenge mission for the Dutch side.
They were defeated by Juve on penalties in the 1996 final, then dumped out of the competition by the Italians again the following year.
Those losses still rankle, given accusations over drug use.
For Ajax chiefs who were around or even played then – particularly sporting director Marc Overmars – this will have been extremely sweet.
5. Ronaldo vs Florentino rumbles on
Florentino Perez is stuck on five European Cups after Los Blancos’ last 16 exit at the hands of the Dutch side.
Ronaldo, determined to beat the Madrid president with whom he fell out during his final year in the Spanish capital, will now also remain on five.
Given how this competition is playing out and the respective strength of the two sides this term, it’s a bigger missed opportunity for the Portuguese.