efe-epaTurin, Italy

Ajax came from behind to beat Juventus 2-1 here Tuesday and prevail 3-2 on aggregate in their Champions League quarterfinal clash.

While the Dutch side are headed to their first European semifinal since 1997, Cristiano Ronaldo lost out on his bid to lead Juve to a Champions League crown after doing the same for Real Madrid in three straight seasons.

The revelation of the 2018-2019 Champions League, who had to defeat CR7's former club to qualify for the quarterfinals, did well to hold the perennial Serie A kings 1-1 in the first leg at Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.

Though expectations were mixed ahead of the second leg at Turin's Juventus Stadium, the Ronaldo magic that allowed Real Madrid to hoist the Champions League trophy three years in a row looked likely to tip the balance in favor of the hosts.

With Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic in the vanguard, the Bianconeri deployed a high press that kept the visitors penned in their own end for the opening 20 minutes.

And just as the Dutch side started to gain ground, Ronaldo struck, getting his head to a Pjanic corner kick to give Juve a 2-1 aggregate lead in the 28th minute.

But the advantage lasted only until the 34th minute, as Donny van de Beek tucked in the rebound after a Juve defender blocked Hakim Ziyech's shot from 20 yards.

Juventus started the second half in disarray, with youngster Moise Kean replacing Dybala, who suffered an injury just before the break.

Ajax, on the other hand, were firing on all cylinders and created three outstanding chances in the space of 15 minutes. The first fell to Ziyech, who squandered an opportunity from close range.

Then came a booming shot by Van de Beek from outside the area that forced a stop from Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, while Pjanic cut off another effort from Ziyech.

Giving a great demonstration of the "total football" made famous by Ajax and Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff, the visiting side had Juve on the ropes.

The knockout blow materialized in the 67th minute.

Ajax won a corner and Lasse Schöne floated a cross into the area, where Matthijs de Ligt beat two defenders and headed the ball past Szczesny to give the Dutch club a 3-2 lead.

A stunned Juve side reacted, but not effectively, while Ajax ventured forward in pursuit of more goals.

David Neres should have scored in the 74th minute and Ziyech finally put the ball in the net only to see the goal disallowed for offside.

Lineups

Juventus: Wojciech Szczesny; De Sciglio (Cancelo, m.64), Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Can, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala (Kean, m.46), Bernardeschi (Bentancur, m.81), Cristiano.

Ajax: Andre Onana, Veltman, De Ligt, Blind, Mazraoui (Sinkgraven, m.7., Magallan, m.81); Schone, De Jong; Ziyech (Huntelaar, m.88), Van de Beek, Neres; Tadic.

am/dr