Ajax is close to its first European final since 1996 after beating Olympique Lyonnais 4-1 in the first leg of the semi-finals in the Europa League on Wednesday in Amsterdam.
The home-team, with Kenny Tete and Jairo Riedewald for suspended Joel Veltman and Nick Viergever, had a difficult start with some minor chances for Maxwell Cornet and Mathieu Valbuena. After the first quarter Ajax gained control and produced the opening goal at a perfect moment.
Bertrand Traore slightly touched a free-kick by Hakim Ziyech from the right side of the field in the 25th minute. The touch was enough to surprise Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and give Ajax the lead.
Kasper Dolberg added the second goal in the 34rd minute when the Danish striker finished a pass by Traore straight into the far corner. Amin Younes could have made it 3-0 on the strike of half-time, but his attempt was stopped by Lopes.
Just after half-time Younes found the net as the German winger’s shot was blocked by Lyon defender Mouctar Diakhaby, but had passed the line.
Ajax had the momentum to score more goals, but Lyon came back into the match with a goal by Valbuena, who beat Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana with a shot from just in the penalty area in the 66th minute.
Nabil Fekir wasted a major opportunity to narrow the margin to one, but in the entertaining match the goal fell on the other side again. Traore finished a cross by Ziyech in the 71st minute to make it 4-1.
Ajax lost the Champions League final against Juventus in 1996.