They say that football is a game of two halves, but in the end we believe that all you can really do is analyse the one and only performance that has been put in front of you to view. One half certainly may have gone better than the other, but let’s face it, the end result is almost always the only thing that matters when all is said and done.
Let’s take Tottenham Hotspur’s loss against Ajax in the Champions League as a perfect example of that. There were a lot of side stories and different points that people wanted to focus on once it was all said and done, and to be truthful, all of them were pretty interesting.
As reported by Sky News there was a great deal of controversy over the decision to let Jan Vertonghen back onto the pitch, after he had quite clearly suffered from a concussion of some sort. Tottenham have to accept some kind of responsibility for that, especially in the modern era when we know so much about head injuries and things of the sort.
If we want to talk about the actual game, though, Ajax were just able to control Tottenham in ways that they just weren’t anticipating. The Dutch giants truly did beat them from pillar to post, and when it was all said and done, Ajax will probably feel like they let the North London-based side off the hook. They may have won the game 1-0 but they had a series of other great opportunities to extend their advantage, and they weren’t able to take them.
In the Champions League, especially, it just feels like you need to take these chances when they come to you – because the swing of momentum can be a very important thing at this level. There are such fine margins between the quality of these clubs that you really do need to seize the day when it comes to you.
As reported by BBC Sport, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino described it best when he stated his team was “still alive”. They may not be the favourites to qualify, especially now that Ajax are the ones with the home advantage in the second leg, but just remaining in the fight is what they’ll take away from this game.
One more shot
This Ajax team has often been billed as a once in a generation team, which makes sense, given that most of their top stars have been linked with some of Europe’s finest. They’re expected to get to the final above all else, and when you’ve got that expectancy, it can be a dangerous thing.
Tottenham’s big names could also make their way out of the club in due course, but the difference is that they aren’t meant to even be at this point. Ajax are at the top of their respective domestic league, whereas Spurs are nowhere near the title race.
There are a lot of variables to consider and with not much time to wait until the second leg, the most beautiful part of this entire procedure is that we’ll find out the answers to all of our questions very shortly.