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Ajax stars say last night was 'a dream getting crushed' in 'a fairytale with an unhappy ending'

Captain Matthijs de Ligt and midfielder Frenkie De Jong were left brokenhearted by Tottenham.

A 96th-minute goal knocked them out of the Champions League semi-finals.
A 96th-minute goal knocked them out of the Champions League semi-finals.
Image: EMPICS Sport

MATTHIJS DE LIGT says Ajax’s elimination at the hands of Tottenham felt cruel, stating that he feels his side saw their dreams crushed on Wednesday evening.

After winning the first leg 1-0 in London, Ajax returned home on Wednesday with one eye fixed on Liverpool and the Champions League final.

That belief was only strengthened by a pair of first half goals, with De Ligt scoring the opener on a thumping header that looked very similar to his finish against Juventus in the quarter-finals.

Hakim Ziyech then provided Ajax’s second, giving the Dutch side a 3-0 aggregate lead with just 45 minutes of football remaining.

It all fell apart from there, however, as Lucas Moura scored a pair of goals in quick succession to bring Spurs within touching distance of winning the tie on away goals.

And they did just that, with Moura scoring deep into stoppage time to seal Tottenham’s spot in Madrid and Ajax’s accompanying elimination.

“When you see the whole game, we didn’t deserve to be knocked out,” De Ligt told Veronica. ”We barely gave anything away in first half, but we’re out anyway. Incredible.

“It’s a dream getting crushed. I would have loved to play the final, but it’s not happening.

“I’m getting goosebumps from the way our fans cheered for us [after the final whistle]. It’s hard to say right now, but we have to move on.

“We still have to play two matches to win the title. That’s most important now.”

De Ligt added that Ajax’s inability to pressure Tottenham proved their undoing, as the second half played out much differently than the first 45 which saw the home side cruise without many issues.

“In the second half we were no longer capable of putting on pressure, so Alderweireld could step forward and Trippier had too much time to bring the ball in,” the defender said.

“We had no answer to that. We survived for a very long time, but we gave away the goals very clumsily. That’s what made the difference.

“The fans gave me chills, but unfortunately it’s not our night.”

Frenkie De Jong, who is set to join Barcelona at the end of the season, noted:

 ”I think we deserved to reach the final, given the way we played throughout the tournament and also in the first half tonight. In saying that, Spurs also earned their right with that second-half performance

“I think everyone enjoyed what we did in the Champions League this season, it was like a fairytale. Unfortunately, it was one with an unhappy ending. So disappointing to give it away in the last few seconds.

“We showed in patches what we were capable of. But in the second half they caused us a lot of problems. It is indeed the third tie in a row in which we’ve won away but failed to do so at home. I don’t really know why.

“We always try to play the same, home or away. And if we’d kept up our first-half performance we could definitely have won this evening.”

Ajax will now turn focus towards the Eredivisie title as they sit level on points with PSV with two games remaining.

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