Watch: Youthful Ajax thrashes Lyon 4-1 in first leg of Europa League semifinals
AMSTERDAM (AP) – Bertrand Traore scored two goals and created another as a rampant Ajax beat Lyon 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Wednesday.
Burkina Faso forward Traore, who is on loan to Ajax from Chelsea, had been in doubt before kickoff with a groin injury. But the 21-year-old showed no ill effects as the four-time European Cup winner made the most of its first European semifinal since 1997.
Playing in the Amsterdam Arena for the first time since an announcement that the stadium will be renamed in honor of Ajax's greatest player, Johan Cruyff, the Amsterdam team put in a performance that would have made him proud. It also showed that this young Ajax team could be strong enough to win its first continental title since 1995.
Poor finishing and good goalkeeping combined to keep the score respectable for Lyon.
After a scrappy opening in which Lyon gave Ajax little time or space on the ball, Traore put Ajax ahead in the 25th minute, leaping between a crowd of defenders to send a glancing header into the far corner from a free kick by Hakim Ziyech.
Ziyech was also the provider for Traore's second in the 71st minute.
In between his strikes, Traore created Ajax's second goal nine minutes after his first, powerfully heading a poor clearance by Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes into the path of 19-year-old Denmark striker Kasper Dolberg, who calmly fired a low volley past the goalkeeper.
Amin Younes scored for Ajax in the 49th minute and Mathieu Valbuena replied with Lyon's consolation goal in the 66th.