By 90Min
April 10, 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo's 125th Champions League goal wasn't enough for Juventus as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Ajax in the first-leg of their quarter-final. 

Despite having the better of the first half, with their energy and endeavour causing Juve a number of problems, the Dutch side went into half-time trailing thanks to Ronaldo's diving header on the stroke of half-time.

Escaping his marker, Ronaldo's header then had enough power to beat Andre Onana and give the Italians a crucial away goal. 

EMMANUEL DUNAND/GettyImages

Ajax, however, wasted little time to find a way back into the game, as David Neres equalised for the hosts inside the opening minute of the second period. The Brazilian international capitalised on an error from Joao Cancelo, before curling his effort beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

Douglas Costa almost gave the visitors what, in truth, would have been an undeserved winner, but his solo effort struck Onana's left-hand post, leaving both sides to settle for a share of the spoils ahead of the return leg in Turin.  

Here's 90min's breakdown of the game.


AJAX


Key Talking Point

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After knocking out Real Madrid in the last round, Ajax were confident of causing another upset in the quarter-finals, as they began their contest against Juventus like a freight train.

The energy and quality that their play is laced with gave them a number of great opportunities, the best falling to Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek. They weren't taken though, and the hosts were punished for not taking their chances in the cruellest of ways just shy of the interval. 

To their credit, Erik ten Hag's young chargers exhibited a fight and resilience that youth often does, getting themselves back into the game through Neres' fine strike. The hosts looked the likelier side to add to their tally in the latter stages, but ultimately they could not break down I Bianconeri again.

The Eredivisie leaders gave a terrific account of themselves in the game, and certainly won't be overwhelmed by having to score at the Allianz Stadium. They will have to do so without Nicolas Tagliafico, however, who will be suspended after picking up a caution in the first half. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Onana (6); Veltman (6), De Ligt (7), Blind (7), Tagliafico (7); Schone (6), De Jong (8*); Ziyech (8), Van De Beek (7), Neres (8); Tadic (7). 


Substitutes: Ekkelenkamp (7).


STAR MAN

JOHN THYS/GettyImages

David Neres scored Ajax's equaliser, but Frenkie de Jong put in another terrific display at the heart of midfield - proving once again that he's a player of the highest quality.

He dictated play for the hosts when on the ball, but also contributed significantly to Ajax's defensive efforts. His tackle to deny the onrushing Federico Bernardeschi just one example of his great reading of the game, and Barcelona will be licking their lips ahead of his summer arrival at Camp Nou.


JUVENTUS


Key Talking Point

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Juventus appeared to of read the blueprint of a perfect Champions League away performance prior to kick-off, as despite being second best for large spells in the first-half, they converted their big chance when it fell to them.

They forgot the script just after half-time, though, when a slack touch from Cancelo was punished by the in-form Neres, who curled a superb effort past Szczesny into the far corner. The visitors appeared to be holding on times, but almost nicked it with just over five minutes remaining when Costa's effort struck Onana's upright.



The Serie A champions-in-waiting will still be favourites to go through to the semi-finals, especially with the second-leg being in Turin. Massimiliano Allegri's side, though, will be well aware of what can happen should they underestimate what Ajax are capable of on the road - just ask Real Madrid.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Szczesny (6); Cancelo (6), Rugani (6), Bonucci (7), Alex Sandro (7); Bentancur (7), Pjanic (6), Matuidi (6); Bernarderschi (7*), Mandzukic (6), Ronaldo (7). 


Substitutes: Costa (7), Dybala (6), Khedira (N/A). 


STAR MAN 

EMMANUEL DUNAND/GettyImages

Although it was Cristiano Ronaldo that scored Juventus' goal, Federico Bernarderschi was their main threat in the first half, with his direct running causing problems for Ajax on the counter.

The Italian's threat waned somewhat in the second-half, although he did more than enough in the opening 45 minutes to justify his selection.


Looking Ahead 


Ajax host Excelsior at the weekend, while Juventus can wrap up their eighth consecutive Serie A title with a point away to SPAL.

The two sides meet in the second-leg in just six days time at the Allianz Stadium, in what is sure to be an enthralling encounter.

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