Fresh after securing a league title, it seems, Barcelona have now virtually qualified for their first UEFA Champions League final since 2015. Ajax keeps on shinning like a bright star….
The Argentinian had the whole Camp Nou chanting his name in yet another glorious Champions League night.
Not his best game all around, but Messi came to life in the second half to score a brace and turn the tide in favour of Barcelona. He reached the 600-goal milestone at club football with an absolute stunning free-kick.
Donny Van de Beek
Everyone has been talking about Frenkie de Jong or Matthijs de Ligt, Hakim Ziyech and David Neres. But one of the key men has to be Donny van de Beek.
After scoring in Turin against Juventus, he did the same at Tottenham, grabbing the headlines. The man who links midfield and attack, playing in the hole but moving around everywhere. A modern, complete midfielder.
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He was meant to be the weak link in Barcelona’s midfield and turned out to be the strongest part. Played simple passes, never overcomplicated things, and was always in the right place at the right time, both in helping the strikers and in defending.
Some of the tackles he put in don’t fit in with the style of Barcelona, but proved key in winning the midfield battle.
The tie against Liverpool should have been one of the most balanced ever but turned out to be pretty straight forward so far for the Blaugrana, at least in terms of the result. It was, in fact, a very balanced encounter, but being 3-0 up after the first leg isn’t balanced at all. At the Nou Camp, Barcelona showed once again why they’ve been the most dominant side of the past 15 years.
A joy to watch, a young team playing together with a plan, and executing it perfectly.
Their away record in the Champions League has been unique, still unbeaten and having won in Turin, Madrid and now London. The evolution of Total Football. A breath of future right here.
The truth is, the Reds dominated large chunks of the game against Barcelona.
They squandered some golden opportunities to get that vital away goal and have made it all the more difficult for themselves. Dominating and not scoring is an unforgettable sin.
The identity and plan he gave Spurs in the past four seasons is evident, but it was blown away by Ajax.
Despite playing at home, Tottenham struggled to be themselves, as the Dutch side dominated and could have scored even more.
Virgil van Dijk
For some the best defender of all time, surely one of the best right now, and PFA Player of the Year.
Didn’t follow Luis Suarez’s movement on Barcelona’s opener, didn’t follow Lionel Messi on Barcelona’s second. A terrible night for the Dutch centre back.
True, Spurs were lacking some key players, but were at home in the new stadium and they should have made this count.
Instead, Tottenham were scared for most of the game, and never really looked like they could turn things around after conceding early on.