Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (Agg: 3-3): Lucas Moura hat-trick secures incredible Spurs win
Moura scores second-half hat-trick as Tottenham reach Champions League final with dramatic victory in Amsterdam
By Lyall Thomas in Amsterdam
Last Updated: 09/05/19 11:06am
Tottenham will face Liverpool in an all-English Champions League final after producing a stunning second-half comeback against Ajax to rival the Reds' miracle win over Barcelona.
Just 24 hours after Liverpool staged one of the greatest-ever fightbacks at Anfield, Lucas Moura scored a second-half hat-trick to secure a 3-2 win in Amsterdam and send Tottenham through on away goals to the final in Madrid.
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Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Spurs looked out of it at half-time after a towering header from Matthijs de Ligt and a curling finish from Hakim Ziyech.
Ajax: Onana (4), Mazroui (5), De Ligt (6), Blind (5), Tagliafico (5), Schone (4), Van de Beek (5), De Jong (5), Ziyech (7), Tadic (6), Dolberg (5)
Subs: Veltman (5), Sinkgraven (5), Magallan (5)
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Trippier (5), Alderweireld (6), Vertonghen (6), Rose (7), Wanyama (5), Sissoko (6), Eriksen (6), Alli (8), Lucas (9), Son (6)
Subs: Llorente (7), Lamela (5), Davies (5)
Man of the match: Lucas Moura
But Lucas stuck twice inside four minutes to level the scores early in the second half, first slotting home a brisk counter-attack before wriggling past two defenders in the box to smash in the equaliser.
And the Brazilian completed his remarkable hat-trick when he scored the dramatic winner deep into stoppage time to seal another historic night in this competition, and leave Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino in tears.
Spurs will now face Liverpool in their first European Cup/Champions League final on June 1.
After Liverpool proved anything is possible against Barcelona, there was always a sense of belief in Tottenham even when they went behind to De Ligt's header from a corner on five minutes.
Champions League, then Nations League
The Champions League final will be played just five days before England face the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League. With several players from England and the Netherlands in the Champions League final, that means they face a quick turnaround.
You can watch all of the Nations League finals live on Sky Sports.
The response from Mauricio Pochettino's side was bullish, and they went closest to making it 1-1 when Heung-Min Son, who was suspended for the first leg, struck the post with a shot from the left just moments after the Ajax opener.
Lucas and Dele Alli also forced Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana into two good saves as the visitors continued to dominate - but a hammer blow came shortly before half-time when Dusan Tadic capitalised on a mistake from Kieran Trippier in midfield and set up Ziyech to sweep the ball above and beyond Hugo Lloris and make it 2-0.
Tottenham were back out ready for the second half some time before Ajax, however, signalling that they were not giving up without a fight - and the introduction of Fernando Llorente changed the dynamic in their favour.
The Spaniard was a different problem for Ajax and allowed Lucas to attack from in behind him, and Ajax were clearly rattled when a speedy counter-attack saw Alli put Lucas through to finish firmly into the bottom corner.
Llorente then thought he had equalised with an effort that was saved from close range, but the ball dropped to Lucas and he found the bottom corner for a second time.
Spurs made two changes from the side that lost 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday as Victor Wanyama and Jan Vertonghen replaced Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez. Erik Lamela made the bench, but it's too soon for a Harry Kane return.
For Ajax, Lasse Schone and David Neres started.
Spurs then did everything in search of the winner, including moving Moussa Sissoko to right-back to be able to throw on another forward in the returning Erik Lamela, but it almost cost them when Ziyech went up the other end and struck the post late on.
As stoppage time arrived, the Ajax fans and some Ajax players thought their place in the final was sealed, celebrating as Spurs forced a corner at the death. But instead of referee blowing his full-time whistle, Moura pounced on a cute Alli ball through after Llorente's knockdown and swept home to spark pandemonium in the away end of the Amsterdam Arena, with the Ajax players flat out on the floor.
"Thank you, football. Those were the words of Mauricio Pochettino afterwards and everyone understood. After Liverpool turned around a three-goal deficit in 90 minutes to win their semi-final against Barcelona on Tuesday, Tottenham pulled off the feat in 45 manic minutes to leave Ajax heartbroken in Amsterdam. Spurs are in the Champions League final."
Tottenham's outrageous comeback in Amsterdam was a fitting reward for Mauricio Pochettino's five-year project, writes Adam Bate.
A tearful Mauricio Pochettino hailed his players as "superheroes" after they fired Tottenham into the Champions League final against all the odds.
"I said before my players were heroes - now they are superheroes. The most important thing I want to say is congratulations to them - they own the football. They delivered the job.
"To go to the final is close to a miracle. Nobody believed in us in the beginning of the season. But we fully deserve to win tonight and be there."
- Tottenham Hotspur have reached the European Cup/Champions League final for the very first time.
- Spurs are only the second team in Champions League history to lose the first leg of the semi-final at home and progress to the final - the other was Ajax in 1995-96 against Panathinaikos.
- The 2019 Champions League final will be only the third major European final in history to feature two English teams, after the 1972 UEFA Cup final (Spurs vs Wolves) and 2008 Champions League final (Man Utd vs Chelsea).
- Two of the six occasions in Champions League history of a side losing the first leg of the semi-final and progressing have been Liverpool and Spurs this season.
- Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt became the fourth teenager to score in a Champions League semi-final, after Nordin Wooter (1996, Ajax), Obafemi Martins (2003, Inter Milan) and Kylian Mbappé (2017, Monaco).
- English teams have come from two or more goals behind to win on seven occasions in Champions League history - four more than clubs of any other nation. Indeed, four of the last five occasions have been English teams.
- Spurs will be the eighth different English team to feature in a European Cup/Champions League final, after Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester United and Nottingham Forest; England have had more different teams in the final of the competition than any other nation.
- Ajax's Dusan Tadic has been involved in 55 goals in 54 appearances in all competitions this season (34 goals, 21 assists).
- Spurs were the first team to come two goals behind to win in a Champions League semi-final since Manchester United in 1999 against Juventus.
- Ajax have won none of their last eight home Champions League knockout matches (W0 D4 L4), a run stretching back to 1996.
- Spurs' Lucas Moura is only the fifth player to score a Champions League semi-final hat-trick, and first since Cristiano Ronaldo in May 2017 for Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid.
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'A great advert for English football'
Tim Sherwood told The Debate: "The momentum shifted. You just felt it. You just knew the goal was going to come. Lucas Moura was outstanding, he's been unbelievable in the last few weeks.
"It's brilliant for the Premier League and English football because I believe we're going to see two English European finals with the Europa League as well.
"It's a great advert for English football and for everybody concerned at Tottenham."
Man of the match - Lucas Moura
Described as a "super hero" by Mauricio Pochettino. Lucas got Spurs back into the game with two goals in 204 seconds after the break and then showed fantastic composure to slot in the winner in injury-time.
The Champions League final, the 27th in its current format and 64th of Europe's elite-club competition, will take place on June 1, 2019. Kick-off is at 8pm (BST), 9pm (CEST).
Spurs finish their Premier League season with a home game against Everton on Sunday, needing only to avoid a heavy defeat to finish in the top four.
Ajax will be aiming to secure the Eredivisie title with wins against Utrecht and De Graafschap in their final two games.