So, thanks for your company - I'll be in Vigo tomorrow night, which I hope is half as good.
Enjoy your nights.
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So, thanks for your company - I'll be in Vigo tomorrow night, which I hope is half as good.
Enjoy your nights.
What a pleasure that was! Ajax are so agile and inventive, and play with such freedom. They bottled the first 20 minutes, but were superb thereafter. Lyon, meanwhile, aren't quite out of this, but will have to defend a lot better to get anywhere near.
Full-time: Ajax 4-1 Lyon
Corner to Lyon down the left, and it makes its way to Lacazette on the far side of the box ... he tries to turn a finish inside the near post, but more or less misses his kick.
The PA announce Traore as man of the match, which is a fair enough call given that he scored the first and fourth goals. But Ziyech has also been very good, and so has Onana.
Ajax aren't wasting time holding what they've got; they break again and Klaaseen finds Ziyech on the left, just inside the box. He puts his foot through a shot, but it's straight at Lopes.
There shall be four added minutes.
Lyon push for what would be a key second away goal, and Tolisso makes his way into the box only for Tete to slide in with an exceptional challenge.
Ajax win a free-kick out on the right and Ziyech curls in another fine delivery - De Ligt is underneath it so Diakhaby manouvres him off the ball, and for some reason the ref apprises a Lyon free-kick.
Off goes Dolberg; Nenes replaces him.
Valbuena stops under a high ball, forcing Sanchez to clean him out. But the free-kick, 35 yards out, dead centre, is hit too straight and Onana, who's had a sound night, rushes out to punch.
This is truly one of the worst defensive performances I've ever seen; Lyon have not a clue what to do. Great stuff!
The home support are absolutely going for this, jigging along the rows, arms around shoulders.
this is great from De Ligt - he shepherds a ball into the corner with Lacazette chucking himself at him from both sides simultaenously. 17. 17! 17!
It's hard to see how Lyon could possibly keep a clean sheet in the second leg - they'll need to win about 6-3, if they can't grab another goal tonight.
Lyon's defending is atrocious. Traore breaks, has about 17 options, and manages not to take any of them, as four defenders converge on him to leave everyone else open.
I neglected to note, Lacazette is on for Cornet.
Kluivert replaces Younes; he's had a very handy game, even if he ought to have scored three or four.
Ziyech, who's been great, isolates Morel on the left and nails him with a flip-flap.Nothing comes of it, but still, lovely behaviour.
This is ridiculous! More lovely build-up from Ajax, ending with Van der Beyk thrashing a sot towards the top corner, punches out by Lopes.
My word what a game this is! First, Dolberg backheels for Younes and Lopes saves; then Onana saves from Ghezzal and Rafael in quick succession; then Ajax sweep downfield at ridiculous pace; Younes plays a superb ball into Ziyech, who nips around the keeper but decides he's gone too wide to shoot so turns slides a ball back into the middle, only to find Dolberg is on the goalline.
Change for Ajax: Van der Beyk replaces Schone. And a few minutes ago, Rafael replaced Jallet.
GOAL! Ajax 4-1 Lyon (Traore) What a lovely goal this is! Ajax knock it about around the edge of the Lyon box, Dolberg keeping the move going with a lovely flick into Klaassen. He spreads the ball left for the excellent Ziyech, whose cross is low and hard; Traore gambles, reaches the ball first, and pokes hard and high past Lopes.
Lyon are ramping it up now ... Tolisso feeds Fekir who jinks inside and out, slides a short forward pass into the box ahead of Ghezzal, and Onana does excellently to block him off.
GOAL! Ajax 3-1 Lyon (Valbuena) What a passage of play this is! First, Younes, who's really enjoying himself, spins on halfway and prances clear, but nothing comes of the situation. Then, Cornet finds space down the left, looks up, and has Fekir unmarked in the box .. he pulls back, and Tete makes a brilliant interception. But Lyon keep up the pressure, Tolisso crossing from the right, and when the ball is cleared to Valbuena, he takes a touch - he's outside the box, right of centre - and then curls a sumptuous finish high inside the near post! This is warming up nicely!
Ajax look likely to score pretty much every time they go forward; this time it's Traore, jinking and angle for a shot, pushed firmly across Lopes ... he parries clear.
Valbuena gets to the line, but instead of ramming across he stands one up - easy for Onana.
Valbuena clips a pass into Tolisso, who turns it around the corner, so Traore rushes in and bodies him into the turf. Booking.
For anyone wondering why this game is being played on a Wednesday, tomorrow is Remembrance Day in Netherlands.
This game is good evidence of why it's better to play the first leg at home; if you have a good day, you can near enough finish the tie, and whatever happens, you're not susceptible to a killer and unanswerable away goal in the second leg.
Change for Lyon: Ghezzal replaces the ineffectual Tousart.
Dolberg is a player. He races at Nkoulou to put pressure on him, jumps between him and the ball, flicks the ball around him with the outside of his foot, accelerates away from him, and unleashes a zetz that Lopes has to beat away.
This could not have looked less likely at point during the first quarter. I think that's a polite way of saying neither of these sides are much cop, though they do have good individuals.
Lovely from Fekir, weaving inside and outside Tete and De Ligt ... he's opened up space for a shot ... but from eight yards, tries to pass it into the far corner and Onana saves well.
I take back what I said about Lacazette - there's no point having him fit if there's nothing to be fit for. He'll be on presently, I shouldn't wonder.
GOAL! Ajax 3-0 Lyon (Younes) Lyon are in all sorts! Gonalons stumbles outside his box, Ziyech catches him and slides a pass into Younes, edge of the box, left-hand side. He ought to takes it first time, but steps inside his man and looks to curl into the far corner, giving Nkoulou a chance to block. He does, but the ball rears up off his thigh and creeps over the lin - the ref gives the goal after consulting with his earpiece.
Given Lacazette wasn't deemed fit enough to start, presumably we won't see him until after the hour. In the meantime, Ziyech sends Tete down the right, and his low cross is aimed for Dolberg, but Nkoulou humps it away.
Off we go again.
Well that was a curious half. Ajax completely bottled the first 20 minutes but then a perfectly delivered free-kick, a good header, and it's been all them ever since. If Lyon can't respond, this tie will be over in 45 minutes' time.
Half-time: Ajax 2-0 Lyon
SO NEARLY 3-0! Lyon just cannot defend! Younes comes in off the left, finds Klaassen, and then intercepts a pass seeking Dolberg ... he's in! But with the far corner open, he gets wide, looking for the near, and his shot it's close enough to Lopes for him to save.
Sanchez really looks a player, and he absolutely monsters through Valbuena; not the hardest task, but still, he does not hang about.
Don Hutchison doesn't think Lyon should panic. Sage.
Gonalons slides in late on Tete and seems to raise his leg to make sure he catches his man on the back when he falls. Booking.
Lyon are inching their way back into things, Tousart finding himself some space down the right side of the box. He tries to skirt Sanchez; Sanchez barges him to the grass, fairly. Great defending.
How much must Cornet be regretting that earlier miss. And how long until we see Lacazette?
Can someone pleasure reassure me that Ajax fans respond with "WHAT'S MY NAME!" every time the PA announces Onana as their keeper.
GOAL! Ajax 2-0 Lyon (Dolberg) Wow! Ajax hassle Diakhaby, who's trying to play out, so he goes back to keeper, who botches his kick. Traore is up hard and first to win the header, it puts Dolberg through, and he allows the ball to bounce before flicking it hard with his instep, across Lopes and into the far corner. That was exceedingly competent; Lyon are in a situation.
Lyon need to gather themselves here, because Ajax are running them off the pitch at the moment.
I meant to say, De Ligt was booked a couple of minutes ago for powering through Fekir.
Younes finds space on the left and chases at Jallet, diddling him with the stepover and snapping a cross that Diakhby intercepts just before it gets to Dolberg. What a difference a goal makes.
Ajax are into this now! De Ligt appears on the left wing to shove the ball past Jallet and power after it - he wins a corner. What were you doing at 17?
Well that was unexpected, to the extent that any goal for any team is ever unexpected. Ajax really hadn't got going, but one attack, one simply-delivered cross, and here we are.
GOAL! Ajax 1-0 Lyon (Traore) Brilliant free-kick from Ziyech, swerved in flat and hard; Traore reaches it first, flicking a header the shoot off with the flight of the ball and inside the side-netting.
Ajax win a free-kick down the right, just shy of the box; Tete and Ziyech are behind it...
Other favourite Peter Druryisms:
"Parity!" when Gerrard scored for Liverpool against Leverkusen and "Base camp!" when Arsenal got to 2-0 against Milan, having lost the first leg 4-0.
Klaassen gets a telling off after sliding in late on Nkoulou. A different referee would've got the yellow card out.
Fekir steals possession outside the box, more or less dead centre, and moves around to his right, looking to screw a shot back into the opposite corner. Instead, he screws a shot wide, when he had a spare man outside him.
Ziyek charges Gonalons off the ball - perhaps that'll get Ajax going - but immediately, Sanchez gives it away, and they're just relieved to avert any danger.
Lyon win a free-kick down the right, Valbuena curves it in, and Sanchez heads away. So Toilsso retrieves it, tries another cross, and Ajax get the ball away. We've not seen Klaassen get a foot on the ball yet; his team need him to.
More or less, Lyon know what to do while Ajax look flummoxed.
I wish this was a good game, but it's not; it's dustbins, drains and bile.
Dolberg, who looks like a young Colin Hendry, waits for a ball to drp on the edge of the box, pulling Gonalons around while he does. Free-kick for Lyon, displeasure for Ajax.
On Peter Drury is the title of my next book, but also on Peter Drury...
French is a great language sometimes.
Ajax break quickly, and Ziyech skips through the middle, sliding a through-pass for Dolberg. It's measured nicely, but Diakhaby inserts a foot and Lyon bring the ball away.
Lovely from Lyon, Jallet and Torsart turning Ajax's left flank with a one two; Torsart hits the line, cuts back, and Onana does very well to block Cornet's shot behind with an outstretched foot. They're hitting their stride.
Lyon look the more composed team so far. Morel pushes forward and sells Traore a dummy, but he responds well to tackle.
This has been a really low-key start. Onana thrashes the ball out of play and asks his teammates to calm down.
Ajax's centre-backs split to help bring the ball forward, so Tolisso follows De Ligt. Or in other words, not much doing so far.
Peter Bosz is a great name; the log, fluffy scarf he's wearing with his suit less so.
Ajax's players are never still; Lyon are coiling, waiting to strike.
Peter Drury has just called these teams "prime middleweights of the European game." Forreal.
Off we go!
Hands are slapped; it's quite, quite moving.
Here they come!
The Amsterdam ArenA are waving flags; what better way to celebrate 20 years since its owners last saw a European semi-final.
Louis van Gaal in the house! Let's hope he doesn't radiate sideways and backwards passing.
I have not the slightest clue who's going to win this game. I guess I'm expecting Lyon to find their way through the tie, and I'm expecting both teams to score to the tune of five English pounds - or half a Euro and a bag of crisps.
Lyon, meanwhile, have to make do with fielding Alexandre Lacazette on the bench; in his absence, they'll be hoping Nabil Fekir, erratic this season, has a good day. Also worth looking out for is Corentin Tolisso, tucked in behind him.
I am seriously looking forward to wrapping my peepers around Kasper Dolberg. Ajax, though they needed extra-time to get past Schalke, were brilliant in the quarter-final, especially in the first leg. Led by the excellent Davy Klaassen, hey play exactly as you'd expect them to, and Lyon will have to pay attention, all the more so given their dodgy defence.
The French side have named striker Alexandre Lacazette on the bench after he has missed the past few matches with a thigh problem. Could be a big miss.
Meanwhile, Bertrand Traore - on loan from English champions-elect Chelsea - starts for the Dutch team behind prolific Danish forward Kasper Dolberg...
And now the home team...
And here are the teams. First Lyon...
Two fast, attacking teams, a European semi-final, played at teatime so as not to clash with another European semi-final. Oh, ok - go on then,