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Spurs Odyssey Champions League Preview - Ajax v Spurs, 08.05.19

Last week's game - Spurs 0 Ajax 1, 30.04.19
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Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 
 P  W   D   L   F - A
36 16   8  12  65 - 48
 
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
 
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
 
European Cup Winners Cup
 
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
 
(Winners 1963)
 
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
140  78  36  26  276-121 
 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
The club logo of Ajax Amsterdam
Total
P    W   D   L   F - A
217 118 50  49  427-216

Two goals in Amsterdam please Spurs!

Never mind tulips, let's have two goals in Amsterdam please tomorrow Spurs! As I wrote in last week's match report this tie is not over yet. An early goal for Spurs would have the home side worried, and if we can manage two that would be fantastic, as Ajax would also need to score at least two goals. Check out this sports bonus opportunity, if you fancy your chances of predicting the result or score in this or other games and events.

Ajax won their Cup Final on Sunday, beating 8th place Willem II 4-0. Their goals were scored by Daley Blind, with 35 year old Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scoring twice and right back Rasmus Kristensen scoring the fourth. Kristensen is not a regular starter, having made 5 league starts this season, and whilst the veteran Huntelaar has scored 22 goals in all competitions this seaason, he only came off the bench for the closure of last week's game. De Jong, Ziyech and Tadic were all substituted on Sunday and Ajax will probably be at full strength tomorrow.

Clearly Spurs have to treat this as a "Cup Final" if they want to reach the prestigious Champions League Final which will be played in Madrid on Saturday 1st June. I am writing this preview before tonight's Liverpool v Barcelona game, but clearly the Spanish (or should I say Catalan) team are strong favourites to be the Final opponents. In the meantime, this is our biggest game since, well last week and before that the 1984 UEFA Cup Final or perhaps the European Cup Final matches against Benfica in 1962.

I was one of the thousands of Spurs fans who travelled to Rotterdam in 1974 for the ill-fated second leg of another UEFA Cup Final which we lost 2-0 and thus lost 4-2 on aggregate. There was such trouble in the stands that poor Bill Nicholson was led to appeal to the fans for peace at half-time. I am sure that on top of a poor opening to the 1974-75 season, this sad episode in our history encouraged him to stand down as our manager that year.

Unfortunately, despite the apparent "affinity" between the two sets of supporters (over Jewish connections), there was trouble on the High Road near Bruce Grove last week where paving slabs were broken up and hurled at police officers and perhaps others. I am aware of 4 Ajax fans being arrested and charged with affray, but I do believe there were arrests of fans from both sides at this and other incidents inside and outside the ground. We want no disorder in Amsterdam this week!

Following that defeat in Rotterdam and the bewildering appointment of Terry Neill, there was a decline of our beloved Spurs and a relegation before we once again experienced glory in 1981. I understand that Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa will be among the Spurs legends travelling to this game. It is an interesting fact that after Feyenoord, Rotterdam, our next opponents in Europe were - Ajax! Ricky Villa even scored one of our three goals in the away leg of a 1st Round European Cup-Winners Cup tie. Mark Falco scored the other two and we beat the Dutch side 6-1 on aggregate. I'll settle for a 2-1 aggregate score or even a 2-2 aggregate score with another away goals win! Oh - could it be a good luck omen that Chris Hughton (whose team held Arsenal on Sunday to more or less ensure our Champions League participation next season) played in both those previous Ajax games? Do you want another omen? That game in which Ricky Villa scored against Ajax took place on my third wedding anniversary and Ricky Villa shares my birthday!

This a mammoth task, against a side in top form. Ajax have won their last 6 games (15 of their last 17), whilst Spurs have won only five of their last 15 games and one of their last six in all competitions. It's a little early for official team news, but we will have Son back to hopefully play his penultimate game of the season (the last to be in the Final!). Lucas Moura will be looking forward to his 50th European game, whilst Hugo Lloris (52) and Jan Vertonghen (51) have made over 50 European appearances for Spurs alone. Hopefully Jan vertonghen can play his 52nd tomorrow. I am going for another away goals win for Spurs with a 2-1 scoreline on the night in oir favour!

Match referee Felix Brych and his officials are from Germany. Herr Brych last refereed Spurs in last year's 2-2 draw away to Juventus. His team of officials is the same bar the fourth official. Herr Brych's last Champions League duty was the Barcelona v Manchester United game

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - On Monday 10th May, 1999, we drew 2-2 at home to Chelsea in one of our best performances of that season

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