Ajax 4-1 Lyon: match report
The Sons of the Gods, as they are known to their fans, made their fathers proud with some scintillating football at the home of Total Football, the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday night in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final against Olympique Lyonnais.
Bertrand Traore scored twice to help Ajax to an enthralling 4-1 win over Lyon, which left them on the brink of their first European final since 1996. The Burkinabe forward, on loan from Chelsea, headed Ajax in front after 25 minutes and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg fired the second past Anthony Lopes nine minutes later.
Amin Younes added a third early in the second half, Mathieu Valbuena pulled one back for the French visitors and Traore fired in from close range for Ajax's fourth in the 71st minute.
Young Ajax with one foot in the final
Four-times European champions Ajax, playing flowing football, had plenty of chances to add to their tally as Lyon went looking for a second away goal and left themselves exposed. But although a three-goal lead suggests the job has been done, the French side will have their talisman Lacazette back fully fit, after only making the final part of the game tonight, and, with the home crowd behind them, don't rule out a stirring comeback. But keeping the Dutch from scoring, that's another thing.
The Dutch side's last European final appearance was in the 1996 Champions League when they lost to Juventus on penalties. See how tonight's game unfolded below...
Spanish side Celta Vigo host Manchester United in the first leg of the second semi-final on Thursday. You'll be able to follow that live with AS English with build-up throughout the day.
Ajax 4-1 Lyon live stream: second half
FT: And that's it. Some Ajax players fall to the ground, others celebrate their emphatic win. It's not over yet but that was quite something from the Dutch side.
Min 90+3 | He has three assists but he is not going to score tonight! Another effort that Ziyech blazes over.
Min 90+2 | Ziyech strikes another one but Lopes saves again to keep Lyon hanging in. Corner!
Min 89 | Another chance, this time for Neres but he is said to have fouled the defender while looking for the ball.
Ajax substitution: Jasper Dolberg is replaced by by David Neres.
Min 85 | Lyon have run out of ideas and Ajax are sick of scoring! The visiting side will be keen to keep it at 4-1 as it could be a lot worse. They haven't really had a chance since Valbuena's well-taken goal.
Min 83 | Ajax on the attack again. Traore lays it off to Klaassen but his shot is high and wide.
Min 81 | Ziyech with a chance after Traore runs all the way into the box with it. He looks exhausted. He doesn't strike it first time and Lyon get back to block it.
Ajax substitution: Justin Kluivert replaces Younes.
Min 78 | Ziyech with a little flick that gets him free before a backheel and Lyon are forced to put it out for a corner. Thas been sensational by Ajax.
Min 78 | Substitute Van de Beek has a crack that tests Lopes. This is champagne football.
Lyon substitution: Lacazette replaces Cornet.
Min 75 | Ajax attack again with younes putting it through to Ziyech again. Rafael aggrieved he didn't get a free.
Min 73 | Ghezzal with a strike that Onana turns away before Rafale comes in and absolutely piledrices it. Right up the other end and Ziyech is through. He slips beyond Lopes but he decides not to shoot as the angle is too tight.
Ajax substitution: Donny van de Beek replaces Lasse Schoene.
Min 70 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! What a goal that is by Traore. Not so much the finish but the build up. Younes to Dolberg, who flicks it with his heel to Klaassen. He plops a ball over the top and to Ziyech. His cross has plenty of venom on it and Traore turns it home. Lyon shell-shocked.
Lyon substitution: Jallet is replaced by Rafael.
Min 69 | How did Ghezzal miss that. He is one-on-one with Onana but the keeper saves for a corner. A really good chance to get back into this one. Two away goals would be priceless.
Min 68 | Straight up the other end and Younes lays it off to Ziyech but he shoots high and over.
Min 66 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Balbuena with a lovely finish with Onana not able to get close to it. From the edge of the square.
Min 65 | Ziyech tries to glide into the penalty area now after receiving the ball from Younes. He is dispossesed though and Lyon will try again.
Min 63 | A really spectacular run by Younes doesn't have the finish to match as he runs it to close to enemy lines and loses it. He turned two Lyon defenders inside out on the end line. Really nice technique.
Min 61 | Yellow card for Traore as he goes in slightly late on Tolisso. Didn't catch him but Tolisso hit the ground. Ref bought it.
Min 59 | After a break that saw Ziyech get some treatment for a knock he took to the back, we are back in action. He is ready to return too, which he does.
Lyon substitution: Ghezzal replaces Tousart.
Min 57 | Dolberg taking no prisoners as he throws Diakhaby to the ground. He has a shot then and rasps it off Lopes' hands. What a strike. Good save to match.
Min 56 | Dolberg through again but he's offside.
Min 54 | Valbuena fouled again. This time by Schoene but still not card. The little Frenchman is really upset. In fairness, he has been fouled a number of times tonight but by different players so there is nothing the referee can do.
Min 52 | Fekir with an excellent run straight at De Ligt and he gets a yard before trying to curl one past Onana. Good save. Really good chance fashioned by Fekir.
Min 51 | Dolberg lurking again. Lopes comes out to collect but the Danish striker nearly got on the end of that.
Min 49 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! younes gets it over the line. he was put through by Klaassen and he took it before letting Diakhaby get back and half-block the shot. It was that deflection that sent it over the line. Lyon really struggling here.
Min 48 | Really good move by Ajax that sees Tete let the ball run out over the line before he crosses it. All of the midfiel players involved in that one as they whipped it from left to right and straight into Lyon's territory.
Min 46 | We are back underway in Amsterdam.
Ajax 2-0 Lyon live stream: first half talking points
We had an idea that Lyon were susceptible from set-pieces. They had conceded five from their last six. The first chance Ajax got tonight and Traore headers home from an inswinging free. It doesn't help that Ajax have a strange and difficult to defend strategy from their set-pieces.
A credit to Ajax's philosophy that a 17-year-old and a 20-year-old are at the back with little or nobody shielding them and expected to play out from the back and take responsibility for a massive chunk of grass. De Ligt and Sanchez have both been very good.
Lyon have started well but cooled off as Ajax grew into it. If Lacazette is fit enough for the bench, you have to expect him to come on at some point soon. Fekir does not provide the out-and-out number nine's presence that Lacazette can.
Ajax 2-0 Lyon live stream: first half
HT: There is no more time for action. Action-packed opening 45. Two goals and plenty of chances. Two really open and attacking sides. The stuff football dreams are made of.
Min 44 | Tackles are flying in here. younes is through on goal and has to score! He misses as Lopes gets down to save. This one could be any score if Lyon's attack picked it up a small bit.
Min 42 | Fekier with an effort off his left. It's low and on target but Onana is not troubled.
Min 41 | Gonalons with a yellow now for a foul on Tete. Davinson Sanchez won it back for Ajax with a big cheer and they tried to break before Gonalons breaks up the play.
Min 39 | Klaassen with a foul on Gonalons. The Lyon captain wants a card but the referee keeps it in his pocket again.
Min 37 | Valbuena with a corner but ajax get it away. Plenty of pace on it but ajax are looking comfortable.
Min 34 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! A stray clearance from Lopes is headed back towards him by Traore and it falls to Dolberg. He absolutely buries it. The goalkeeper knew he was going that way but he couldn't do anything to stop it.
Min 32 | Tolisso doesn't look right. He just twisted funny and went down holding his groin. He is up and playing on but we will see how he is with just under 15 to go until half-time.
Min 30 | Younes with a mazy run into the box and some quick feet to boot. He squares by Lyon get men back and clear. Ajax looking very dangerous since just before their goal. Lyon have been pinned back and can't get a hold of the ball.
Min 28 | Ajax with a corner. Shoene jogs over to it. Ajax with some of the stragnest set-ups from set-pieces. There was just one man in the box that time before they all arrived before the kick. They have a penalty shout as N´Koulou pulls down Dolberg. Referee says no.
Min 27 | Great ball into Dolberg, who attacks the header. He was too far out and off target but he did well to get in front of the defender.
Min 25 | GOAL! GOAL! The first chance to create a chance and the first goal! Traore turns the header passed Lopes. It grazed his head and went in.
Min 24 | Dolberg lucky to win a free after he was taken down by Morel. He had lost possession of the ball but it was an obvious foul. first time Ajax have the ball up this far and the chance to create a chance.
Min 22 | Klaassen gets a talking to now for a foul on N'Koulou. He thinks it was nothing but the referee looked like he thought about a yellow.
Min 21 | Fekir with an effort that he drags wide. Onana barely flinches.
Min 19 | Some really good tackles going in now. Pace of this one has picked up and ajax slowly getting into the crowd with the fans behind them. Ball over the top for Klaassen by Schoene is too long again though. It's that final ball that's hurting the home side.
Min 17 | De Ligt takes down Cornet on the sideline and Lyon win a free. Another chance for the French club to swing on into the box.
Min 15 | Younes with a ball across the edge of the penalty area but his first touch takes it up in the air and he ends up fouling Gonalons.
Min 13 | Tete throws Valbuena to the ground and the French attacker wins a free. Dangerous ball into the box that Tolisso nearly gets a head to but it goes wide of Onana's post. Just a little bit too much pace on it.
Min 12 | De Ligt gets forward from the centra-back spot and tests Lopes but he palsm it down to himself and gathers. ajax need to get a hold of the ball.
Min 10 | First chance of the game falls to Cornet. the ball comes across the box and he sidefoots it but Onana does well to put it behind for a corner. Reall well worked by Lyon with Ajax chasing shadows.
Min 8 | Ajax look nervous in possession despite playing at home. They had a good chance to build but gave it away with some lacklustre passing. Lyon the more proactive of the two sides so far.
Min 7 | Gonalons muscles Ziyech off the ball and the Ajax player gets his own back with a late challenge. Free that is swung in and cleared by Ajax as they start a counter.
Min 6 | Lyon playing it very tight at the back with Dolberg almost closing Lopes down now twice.
Min 4 | Peter Bosz looking as slick as you like on the sideline as he issues instructions to his players. Ball in behind for Dolberg is too long.
Min 2 | Diakhaby tussles with Fekir with striker ending up on the ground as the ball rolls over the endline. He wanted a free but the referee was having none of it.
Min 1 | We are underway in Amsterdam.
Ajax vs Lyon: live stream online build-up
18:38 | Lyon don't lose too much by replacing Lacazette, who doesn't make it back in time from a muscle injury, with Nabil Fekir. He was highly-rated before tearing a cruciate in 2015 and is feeling his way back into form and should be fun to watch tonight also. He has been linked with a possible move to Arsenal and Manchester City.
18:33 | Chelsea fans will also get the chance to watch Bertrand Traore tonight, who is on loan from the club. At 21, he has played 35 times for the club this season with 11 goals and five assists.
18:30 | Dolberg's comment about staying at Ajax and not jumping ship to the Premier League will come as a blow to plenty of team's tracking him. The Danish striker has everything top flights teams covet in a striker. He is strong, powerful, explosive, can't finish, pass, play and provide a target with the ability to hold up the ball. At just 19, his development comes first though and should be a pleasure to watch him tonight.
18:24 | Lyon are the only team left from the Champions League group stage, who got dumped out of the competition! Plenty of debate as to whether the teams who can't cut it in the CL should get a second crack at the whip. Lyon the only team holding down the fort.
18:23 | We are not far away from kick-off. Here is a look at your team news.
17:55 | With the bookies and many pundits predicting Lyon to make the final, there's no doubt that Ajax will want to take a lead with them to the Parc Olympique Lyonnais next week. And with threats coming from Dolberg, Younes, Schone and Klassen (the latter who scored both in the Schalke win) don't be surprised if they do.
17:48 | As you can see below the teams have been announced and some positive news for the French fans as Lacazette makes it onto the bench. Will he play an important role later in the game? Young Justin Kluivert may get a chance too as he is named among the Ajax substitutes.
Ajax vs Lyon live stream online: confirmed starting line-ups
Ajax XI: Onana; Tete, Sánchez, De Ligt, Riedewald; Klaassen, Schone, Ziyech; Traoré, Dolberg, Younes.
Lyon XI: Lopes; Jallet, N'Koulou, Diakhaby, Morel; Tousart, Gonalons, Tolisso; Cornet, Fekir, Valbuena.
17:30 | A familiar face made his debut for the Dutch club in March, scoring in his first senior game as Ajax drew 1-1 with Excelsior. And Justin Kluivert is aiming to emulate his old man: "I see myself at Barcelona one day," the 17-year-old said.
17:00 | In case you were wondering why Ajax-Lyon is being played today instead of Thursday (we were...) the answer is that May 4 is Remembrance Day in the Netherlands.
16:30 | Ajax's Kasper Dolberg has been in fine form this season, scoring 19 times including five in the Europa League, and plenty of clubs are keeping track of his progress. Hoever, the 19-year-old said ahead of tonight's game that he is not ready to leave the Dutch club at this stage of his career.
16:00 | The big news ahead of the game also works to Ajax's advantage: Lyon's prolific France forward Alexandre Lacazette, who is reportedly a target for Atlético Madrid, is a doubt for tonight's fixture after picking up a thigh strain in the previous round against Besiktas.
15:00 | Ajax hold the historical advantage in this tie, having won twice and drawn twice in the last four meetings between the sides. The last time Ajax won the Uefa Cup was in 1991-92 and the Dutch side are unbeaten in 12 European games at the Amsterdam Arena.
14:00 | Ajax are back as the Dutch giants reach their first major semi-final for 20 years.
13:00 | With Lyon needing penalty kicks to move into the semi-final, both sides will be interested in UEFA's new "ABBA" system of spot kicks to decide a game.
12:00 | To coincide with the anniversary of his death, Ajax recently confirmed that the Amsterdam ArenA will be named after Johan Cruyff.
11:00 | Hello and welcome to our live build-up and coverage of tonight's Europa League clash from Amsterdam as Ajax face French outfit Olympique Lyon. The action starts at 18:45 CEST but we'll be looking forward to the first Europa League semi-final throughout the day.
Ajax v Lyon live stream online: match preview
Ajax welcome Lyon to Amsterdam for the first semi-final of the 2016-17 Europa League. The home side are the only team to have lifted the trophy that remain in the competition.
Ajax: team news
Manager Peter Bosz will be without left back Daley Sinkgraven, who is confined to the touchline by a knee injury. Two other defenders, Nick Viergever and Joel Veltman, are suspended.
The current Ajax team is made up of a talented group of local youngsters, reminiscent of Louis van Gaal's irresistable team of the mid-1990s. They have won all six of their home games in the Europa League this season, but suffered defeat at the hands of PSV Eindhoven in their last domestic match.
Lyon: team news
Star striker Alexandre Lacazette is doubtful, and has not played since picking up an injury in the previous round of the competition against Besiktas. Midfielder Corentin Tolisso has travelled to the Netherlands, but is also a doubt.
Emanuel Mammana and Maciej Rybus will definitely miss out through injury, while Memphis Depay is ineligible, having already appeared for parent club Manchester United in the Europa League this season.
Lyon have lost their last two European matches in normal time, and needed penalties to get beyond Besiktas in the quarter-finals.
Ajax v Lyon live stream online: match facts
Ajax have never lost to Lyon. The Dutch side won both encounters when the two teams met in the 2002-03 Champions League group stage, and there were two draws when they met at the same stage of the 2011-12 Champions League.
There have been over 2.5 goals in Lyon's last six Europa League matches.
Ajax v Lyon: possible line-ups
Ajax XI: Onana; Tete, Sánchez, De Ligt, Riedewald; Klaassen, Schone, Ziyech; Traoré, Dolberg, Younes.
Lyon XI: Lopes; Jallet, N'Koulou, Diakhaby, Morel; Tousart, Gonalons, Tolisso; Ghezzal, Fekir, Valbuena.
Ajax v Lyon live online: match betting
Fancy young Justin Kluivert to follow in his fathers footsteps on the European stage? He's at 7/2 to score at any time.