Ajax and Juventus played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final, with the tie finely poised ahead of the return leg in Turin.
The only quarter-final tie not to feature at least one English club pitted one of the favourites to win the competition in Juve against Real Madrid's conquerors in the previous round in Ajax, who were making their first appearance in at this stage since 2002/03.
Fans were determined to make the most of the occasion, despite reports of fan unrest prior to kick-off, with the atmosphere inside the Johan Cruyff ArenA rivalling any other across Europe.
aMe, writing in our Ajax live blog: The atmosphere is really ramping up and looking great in Amsterdam, isn't it great *puts in picture of a load of fans walking past a police van*— Ron Walker (@ronnabe) April 10, 2019
*Two minutes later*
Email into my inbox: Police have begun firing water cannon at fans
The players of the home side responded well to the occasion, as Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek both went close for the hosts in the first period.
Despite their strong showing in the opening 45 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was making his first appearance for Juventus since his hat-trick in the last round against Atletico Madrid, ensured the Serie A champions-in-waiting led at the interval with his 125th Champions League goal, courtesy of a powerful diving header.
Total goals scored in the Champions League:— bet365 (@bet365) April 10, 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo - 125
Wayne Rooney + Neymar + Sergio Aguero + Antoine Griezmann = 118
JUVENTUS GET THE AWAY GOAL. IT’S CRISTIANO RONALDO.... Of course it is. Diving header. Very good cross from Cancelo. Tough blow for Ajax who have been playing well— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) April 10, 2019
Instead of licking their wounds after the sucker-punch at the end of the first-half, Ajax wasted little time in responding.
David Neres provided the route back into the game, and in some fashion, as he cut inside to curl his effort - with his weaker right foot - beyond the reach of Wojciech Szczesny, cuing jubilant celebrations from the home fans.
With the game on a knife edge, Douglas Costa almost provided the game's third goal late on in with some individual brilliance of his own.
A solo run from the Brazilian, that left several Ajax players in his wake, ended with a fierce strike from a narrow angle that saw him strike Onana's left-hand post, that would've put Juve in a favourable position ahead of the second leg.
Douglas Costa what a goal that would’ve been— 🐵 (@ILikeUmtitties) April 10, 2019
Instead, however, it was honours even in Amsterdam after a pulsating first-leg, with Ajax and Juventus set to do battle in Turin in just six days time for a place in the semi-finals of this season's Champions League.