Ajax – Juventus: Ajax Fail To Fully Capitalize On Their Tactical Superiority (1-1)
Ajax dominated large portions of the game thanks to their mastery with and without the ball. If their final pass would have been slightly better, they might have blown Juventus away. Instead, Cristiano Ronaldo kept the game alive and put his team in front before Ajax equalized.
Tactical analysis and match report by Om Arvind.
Ajax have always been a competitive side in Dutch football, a feat that stretches back as far as memory serves, but it has been sixteen years since they last made waves in Europe. Beating holders Real Madrid in early March changed all of that, making Ajax a legitimate dark horse for the 2018/19 edition of the UEFA Champions League.
Manager Erik ten Hag has implemented a Cruyffian style of play this season. Ajax’s players are stocked to the brim with technical ability and athleticism, allowing them to dominate possession, string together sequences of passing genius and maintain defensive solidity. Every player in the team is expected to attack and defend and everyone has the ability to do so.
Perhaps slightly unfairly, Massimiliano Allegri and Juventus’ run to the Champions League quarter-finals has not been perceived in the same fashion. Sides from Italy are almost uniformly viewed as “grind it out” teams thanks to the history of catenaccio – the most anti-Cruyffian style of football if there ever was one.
Contrary to the narrative, Juventus are a bit more dynamic than that. It is certainly true that Allegri has cautious instincts, but he has demonstrated multiple times that he . . .