Tottenham host Ajax in the first leg of their huge semi-final Champions League clash in the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, kicking off at 8:00pm on Tuesday. Games do not come much bigger than this for either side, as two ‘underdogs’ at the start of the tournament are just 180 minutes away from securing a place in the final.

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Home Team: Tottenham Hotspur

It’s no overstatement when I say that this is Tottenham’s biggest game in their history. Not once have they been at this stage of the Champions League in their history, and this current crop of players could be on the brink of the final. They have been on an unbelievable journey in the competition, that they were so close to elimination on so many times.

Back in the group stage, they had to score late goals to beat PSV and Inter Milan, as well as draw with Barcelona to qualify from the group as runners-up. As if that wasn’t remarkable enough, they also had to withstand Manchester City’s pressure in the quarter final, and had to survive a last minute goal that was initially awarded, but later chalked off from VAR – as Tottenham progressed on away goals.

They come into this clash after losing their first game at their new stadium, as neighbours West Ham visited and won 1-0. Tottenham’s place in next season’s Champions League isn’t even guaranteed yet, but they should only care on the present opportunity that they have in front of them now.

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Away Team: Ajax

Ajax have surprised almost everyone with their high quality performances against Europe’s biggest clubs. Undefeated to Bayern Munich in the group stage, and then triumphant victories recorded at Real Madrid in the 2nd round, and then Juventus in the quarter finals against all the odds.

Young superstars such as Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt have caught the eye of many onlookers in the competition, and it’s no surprise that Barcelona have already acquired the former, and may soon purchase the latter. The players enter the football field without no fear, as they play slick intricate passing, throwing bodies forward at every opportunity, and have a clinical edge to them.

They are in an exhausting title race back in Holland, as they edge rivals PSV on goal difference at the top, with only two matches left. Whilst that is the minimum required for Ajax, winning the Champions League would be the absolute maximum that no one would have predicted at the start of the season.

Prior to their Real Madrid and Juventus clashes, they were big underdogs, but now Ajax must go into the match as slight favourites, which may be an unwanted tag for them.

Head to Head

The sides have played only twice in their history, back in 1981 in the European Cup Winners Cup. Tottenham won on both occasions, winning the first leg in Amsterdam via a 3-1 score line, before cruising to a 6-1 aggregate score by winning the second leg 3-0.

Tottenham would go on to lose to Barcelona in the semi-final of that competition that season. Could history repeat itself?

Predictions and Betting Tips

Tottenham are favourites to win at 7/5 on the night, with Ajax priced at 15/8. For the sides to draw, that is at 12/5. You could also bet on either team to qualify, with Ajax slight favourites at 8/13, and Tottenham are at 1/1.

It’s a hard one to call, but I have a feeling that Ajax will qualify over the two legs, including them earning a draw in the first leg. Tottenham are without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for the first leg, and Ajax can be so deadly on the attack. I am going to go for a 1-1 draw, priced at 11/2, with Christian Eriksen scoring the for the hosts, and Dusan Tadic for the visitors at 12/1 in a ‘both players to score’ bet. For Christian Eriksen to score in the match that finishes a draw, that is priced at a generous 18/1.

If you want to back a winner, then I’d suggest backing them to win by 1-goal either way, with Tottenham at 3/1 and Ajax at 7/2.

Finally, if you believe Ajax can continue their excellent away winning record, then you can back them to win with both teams scoring at 4/1.

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