History will be made in North London tonight as Tottenham Hotspur take part in their first ever Champions League semi-final. Spurs host Dutch giants, Ajax, in the first of two mouth-watering semi-finals, both of which we preview here at Compare Betting Sites.
Priding ourselves as the go-to place to find all the best offers and promotions available for football betting, we at Compare Betting Sites will offer a comprehensive preview of Tuesday’s tie, including key team news, enhanced match odds and suggested bets.
Both Spurs and Ajax made it to the last four by virtue of some incredible and somewhat surprising results earlier in the competition. Whilst Spurs thrilling win over Manchester City followed on from an impressive two-legged demolition of Borussia Dortmund, Ajax won away at both Juventus and holders, Real Madrid, to dump both sides out of the competition.
This is a first semi-final for Tottenham Hotspur but their opponents, Ajax, have an excellent European pedigree, winning on four occasions, most recently in 1995. In recent years they have been less successful and have not contested a Champions League semi-final since 1996/97.
Given the number of players absent on Tuesday, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side almost picks itself. Son Heung-Min will be absent for the first leg as he serves a one-game suspension. Injuries will also deprive Pochettino of several first team players. Top scorer, Harry Kane, has been ruled out of the rest of the season after damaging ankle ligaments in the quarter-final. The England international is joined on the treatment table by Erik Lamela, Harry Winks, SergeAurier and Moussa Sissoko.
Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente are likely starters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium whilst former AZ Alkmaar forward, Vincent Janssen, could also feature. Former Ajax playmaker, Christian Eriksen, will beSpurs’ main creative force.
Eriksen is one of four ex-Ajax players that will line up for the home side. Defensive trio, Toby Alderweireld, Davison Sanchez, Jan Vertonghen all turned out for the Dutch outfit before moving to the Premier League. Vertonghen was rested for the defeat at home to West Ham United at the weekend but is expected to form a three-man central defence with Alderweireld and Sanchez.
Contrary to the injury problems that plague to Spurs squad, the Ajax squad has reported a clean bill of health. The Dutch FA requested the cancellation of all Eredivise games at the weekend, meaning Tuesday’s visitors will be much fresher than their hosts.
There are two former Premier League players in the Ajax squad with Daley Blind (Manchester United) and Dusan Tadic (Southampton) offering the youthful Dutch side some much-needed experience. Tadic is third in the Champions League scoring charts this season with six goals so far. Only Robert Lewandowski (8) and Lionel Messi (10) have found the net more than the Serbian international.
Tottenham Hotspur, “Living the dream”
Spurs manager, Mauricio Pochettino, was full of praise for his side and what they’ve achieved already. He explained, “You need to set your dreams to infinity and beyond. When you achieve things it's because you dream them. To be in the Champions League semi-final with Tottenham was a dream five years ago - but we're living the dream. You know we must always dream for the moon if you want to get something in the sky.”
Pochettino added, “We have a spirit in the team that we can achieve anything and all is possible - that's our strength. We have a great opportunity to be here playing the semi-final. It has not happened often. We must show respect for our opponents and Ajax fully deserve to be where they are. It's going to be a very competitive game.”
Opponents, Ajax, who are currently top of theEredivise and in the final of the Dutch Cup are chasing an unlikely treble. After overseeing famous wins against Real Madrid and Juventus to earn a place in the semi-final, Ajax boss, Erik ten Hag, has challenged his side to “continue this curve”.
Ten Hag said, “"It's amazing that we're in the Champions League semi-finals. Nobody could have predicted at the beginning of the season that a Dutch team would end up in the Champions League semi-finals. We have achieved something - but we want to do more. We don't want to rest on our laurels.”
With both sides inexperienced at this level the game may well be a cagey affair. Spurs are arguably missing their two biggest goal threats through the absence of both Harry Kane and Heung Son-Min, therefore, a low-scoring first leg may be on the cards. Under 2.5 match goals is available at 5/6 withSmarkets.
Lucas Moura will be Spurs’ main goal threat on Tuesday and the Brazilian will attract plenty of interest in the first scorer market. Moura is available at 6/1 to score first with William Hill whilst he is 9/4 to score at any time withUnibet.
Spurs have only played Ajax twice before in their history with both games taking place in defunct Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1981/82. Tottenham Hotspur won both games that season, recording a 3-0 win in North London. An unlikely repeat of that score line is a massive 25/1 with BetVictor.
Tottenham Hotspur - 6/5 (InterBet)
Draw - 12/5 (BetVictor)
Ajax - 5/2 (Betfred)
Tottenham Hotspur – Evens (Coral)
Ajax - 10/11 (BoyleSports)
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