SAN FRANCISCO, April 17, (THEWILL) – Cristiano Ronaldo played his part to send Juventus to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, but his efforts were just not enough as Ajax triumphed in Turin 2-1 and won 3-2 aggregate.
Ronaldo had opened scoring for Juventus in the 28 minute with a header inside the box, but six minutes after, Donny van de Beek, in a move disputed as an offside, scored for the visitors to level the game.
Then in the 67th minute, Matthijs de Ligt headed home the winner after a corner kick taken by Lasse Schoene. The goal made Juventus hopes to qualify more daunting as they needed two goals to level up and win.
Cristiano Ronaldo was bidding for his sixth Champions League title, but it was not to be as the young Dutch side eliminated his team, the way they eliminated three-time defending champions Real Madrid en route to the quarters with a memorable 4-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“It’s an incredible evening for Ajax and its players and also for Dutch football,” said coach Erik ten Hag.
“Once again we eliminated the favourites.
“We said before we were not the favourites but with our philosophy we can go further, we’ve again surpassed our limits.”
In the same vein, Lionel Messi pounced on two Manchester United mistakes to score twice and end their hopes of another Camp Nou comeback as Barcelona breezed into the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday.
After an excellent start, United were undone twice in four minutes by Messi, who first nicked the ball off the careless Ashley Young and then watched as a weak shot from distance squirmed underneath David de Gea.
Philippe Coutinho, in perhaps his best performance of the season, added a third with a curling effort into the top corner and by the end, an outclassed United might have been relieved the score was not more traumatic than 3-0, 4-0 on aggregate.
Messi now has his 109th and 110th Champions League goals and, potentially, three extra matches to reduce the gap on Cristiano Ronaldo’s 126.