Who last fall would have been brave enough to bet on Tottenham Hotspur or AFC Ajax progressing this far in European soccer’s elite competition?
The shock of the soccer world will give way to piqued interest Tuesday when the teams meet in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal series.
Tottenham’s last semifinal appearance at Europe’s highest level was in 1962, and Ajax’s was in 1997. Nevertheless, they’re within striking distance of a chance to play for European club soccer’s biggest prize, with Tottenham having worked its way past Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in the knockout rounds and Ajax rolling following its upset wins over Juventus and Real Madrid.
Tottenham’s star attackers Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min will miss this game due to an ankle injury and suspension, respectively. Ajax might enjoy the luxury of extra rest and recovery after the Dutch Football Association postponed last weekend’s round of Eredivisie (first division) games in order to afford Ajax more time to prepare for Tottenham.
Ajax and Tottenham haven’t played against each other in a competitive contest since their 1981-82 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round series, which Spurs won 6-1 on aggregate. However, there will be familiarity among the teams, as Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez all previously played for Ajax.
The teams will play again May 8 in Amsterdam in the second leg. The winner of this Champions League semifinal series will face either Liverpool or Barcelona in the final.
TNT will broadcast Tottenham versus Ajax in English, and Univision will do so in Spanish in the United States.
Here’s how to watch the game online:
When: Tuesday, April 30, at 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: B/R Live
Thumbnail photo via Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images