Ajax will host Tottenham in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals in the battle of the underdogs. The Dutch side won the first leg 1-0 away and will look to finish the job at home.
Meanwhile, Spurs are in a downward spiral as they are struggling to win games at the moment. However, Heung-min Son is back from suspension for the match, and Mauricio Pochettino will be banking on him to deliver the goods.
Nevertheless, Ajax are no slouches, having eliminated Real Madrid and Juventus so far. Erik ten Hag’s side play a fearless brand of football and are slight favourites going into the match.
Now, let us take a look at the five key players who will decide the outcome of this game.
Heung-min SonEmbed from Getty Images
The South Korean is critical for Tottenham and Pochettino will be hoping the red card in the Premier League over the weekend will have no bearing on his performance.
The 26-year old was stellar across 180 minutes in the previous round against Manchester City. Thus, Spurs will be hoping for him to repeat the heroics at the Johan Cruijff Arena, especially in the absence of their star forward, Harry Kane.
Dusan TadicEmbed from Getty Images
The former Southampton man got a new lease of life in the Netherlands and is the attacking fulcrum of the Dutch side. Creating and scoring goals at will, the Serbian played his part in each of Ajax’s victories this season.
Now, the 30-year old will be tasked with scoring a goal or two and help Ajax progress to the final. While the Serbian’s job will not be easy, his current form indicates that he will be more than up for the challenge.
Christian EriksenEmbed from Getty Images
The Dane is the creative hub of Tottenham’s attack and will need to be at the top of his game if the English side want to qualify.
Be it creating goals or scoring them, Eriksen is adept at both. Thus, Pochettino will hope for Eriksen to put in a top performance, which usually ends up as a positive result for Spurs more often than not.
Frenkie de JongEmbed from Getty Images
The 21-year old may be moving to Barcelona in the summer, but the youngster has a high chance of potentially facing his next team in the finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Thus, the Dutch midfielder will have great incentive to help Ajax dominate the midfield in the second leg and validate his summer move once again with another top-notch performance against Pochettino’s side.
Matthijs de LigtEmbed from Getty Images
Another young Ajax star, the 19-year old captains the side and is the rock in the heart of the defence. De Ligt scored the crucial winning goal against Juventus in the previous round and will look to shut out Tottenham in this one.
Blessed with a maturity beyond his age, the Ajax captain is already one of the top defenders in world football. Thus, he will look to boost his value by knocking out Tottenham and leading his team into the final.
To conclude, these are the top 5 key players who will decide the outcome of the game as the season gears towards its end.