Vertonghen carried off field after suffering blow to the head

Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham 2019

Catherine Ivill Getty

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said he was living the dream in the build-up to their Champions League semi-final against Ajax Amsterdam but it must have felt like a nightmare at times against the classy Dutch side on Tuesday.

"My feeling is that they (Ajax) were more reactive, they showed more energy than us in the first half".

The pair will return for the second leg next Wednesday in Amsterdam, with the Dutch looking good for a spot in June's final in Madrid.

Spurs came into the game on the back of their first defeat at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in which they looked short of ideas and worn out against West Ham. They get a lot more.

Harry Kane (injured) and Son Heung-min (suspended) were both missing for Spurs and their absence was felt going forward.

Donny van de Beek gifted the freedom of White Hart lane to slot home a 15th minute opener.

Yet in his determination to impress, particularly with added pressure to his place at club and global level, rash sliding challenges are creeping into his game.

Spurs and Ajax are approaching kickoff in North London as the Champions League Semifinals get underway.

Indeed, Ajax became the first side to stop them scoring in the Champions League since Bayer 04 Leverkusen in November 2016 - a run of 20 games.

A first ever semi-final appearance with a quartet of former Ajax players in their starting eleven, including all three central defenders.

A head injury to Jan Vertonghen forced the Spurs boss to change things before the break, allowing for the introduction of Moussa Sissoko to beef up the midfield and switch to a 4-4-2.

I hope it is not a big issue, we will keep watching him because it was a big knock.

In the second half, Tottenham upped their game, with Dele Alli showing much improvement from his firs half performance.

Amid the euphoria at the Etihad Stadium after Tottenham's dramatic triumph over Manchester City in that epic Champions League quarter-final, certain Spurs players' thoughts quickly turned to the semi-final and a reunion with their old club Ajax. The Brazilian's left-footed chance beat a flat-footed Lloris, but it bounced off the far post, staying out and keeping the score at 1-0.

The second of four current Tottenham players to have played for Ajax earlier in their career, Jan Vertonghen is nearly definitely set to play in both legs against his former side.

Domestic cup competitions haven't gone well for Spurs by any stretch, crashing out of the FA Cup to London rivals Crystal Palace in the fourth round and having a firstleg semi-final in the League Cup overturned by Chelsea - both results in the space of three days at the end of January.

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