Tottenham will face Liverpool in an all-English Champions League final after producing a stunning second-half comeback against Ajax to rival the Reds’ miracle win over Barcelona.
Just 24 hours after Liverpool staged one of the greatest-ever fightbacks at Anfield, Lucas Moura scored a second-half hat-trick to secure a 3-2 win in Amsterdam and send Tottenham through on away goals to the final in Madrid.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Spurs looked out of it at half-time after a towering header from Matthijs de Ligt and a curling finish from Hakim Ziyech.
But Lucas stuck twice inside four minutes to level the scores early in the second half, first slotting home a brisk counter-attack before wriggling past two defenders in the box to smash in the equaliser.
And the Brazilian completed his remarkable hat-trick when he scored the dramatic winner deep into stoppage time to seal another historic night in this competition, and leave Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino in tears.
Spurs will now face Liverpool in their first European Cup/Champions League final on June 1. After Liverpool proved anything is possible against Barcelona, there was always a sense of belief in Tottenham even when they went behind to De Ligt’s header from a corner on five minutes.
The response from Mauricio Pochettino’s side was bullish, and they went closest to making it 1-1 when Heung-Min Son, who was suspended for the first leg, struck the post with a shot from the left just moments after the Ajax opener.
Lucas and Dele Alli also forced Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana into two good saves as the visitors continued to dominate – but a hammer blow came shortly before half-time when Dusan Tadic capitalised on a mistake from Kieran Trippier in midfield and set up Ziyech to sweep the ball above and beyond Hugo Lloris and make it 2-0.
Tottenham were back out ready for the second half some time before Ajax, however, signalling that they were not giving up without a fight – and the introduction of Fernando Llorente changed the dynamic in their favour.
The Spaniard was a different problem for Ajax and allowed Lucas to attack from in behind him, and Ajax were clearly rattled when a speedy counter-attack saw Alli put Lucas through to finish firmly into the bottom corner.
Llorente then thought he had equalised with an effort that was saved from close range, but the ball dropped to Lucas and he found the bottom corner for a second time.
Spurs then did everything in search of the winner, including moving Moussa Sissoko to right-back to be able to throw on another forward in the returning Erik Lamela, but it almost cost them when Ziyech went up the other end and struck the post late on.
As stoppage time arrived, the Ajax fans and some Ajax players thought their place in the final was sealed, celebrating as Spurs forced a corner at the death.
But instead of referee blowing his full-time whistle, Moura pounced on a cute Alli ball through after Llorente’s knockdown and swept home to spark pandemonium in the away end of the Amsterdam Arena, with the Ajax players flat out on the floor.