On Tuesday night Dutch club, Ajax Amsterdam made history when they incredibly knocked out defending champions, Real Madrid from the UEFA Champions League. In doing so, they became the first team to overturn a 2-1 first leg home deficit to reigning champions in the history of the UEFA Champions League. Ajax, on Tuesday night put in a five star performance that left Real Madrid players and fans stunned, by claiming an incredible 4-1 away victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Although they celebrated like they had already won the UCL on Tuesday, this is not the first time Ajax is showing Europe the stuff they are made of. In fact, they have a rich history in European competitions. They are the first Dutch team to win the European Cup (what the UCL used to be called) , the UEFA Super Cup and are one of the three teams in the world to have won the UCL 3 times in a row. This club actually ruled the world at one point, setting the pace for other teams to follow with their “Total Football” game play. They were the upgraded version of Barcelona in the 1970s. Alas, they have been forgotten as in recent years as the European champions they are. Let me give you a quick reminder of the times they have ruled Europe.
- 1970-71 Season
Ajax tasted their first European success in 1971 when they defeated Greek club, Panathinaikos, in the European Cup final at Wembley Stadium. They had earlier come close in the 1969 finals but lost to Italian club, AC Milan. However, this time, they made no errors and the dream Ajax team – which included the legendary Johan Cruyff – delivered Netherland’s first European trophy.
- 1971 – 72 Season
The following year, Ajax got their hands on the coveted European trophy for the second time at the De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam. With the brilliance of Johann Cruyff in full display, Ajax brought the completeness of Total football and dominated the final match against Inter Milan to claim a 2 – 0 victory. The match is still often regarded as Total Football’s greatest moment.
- 1923 – 73 Season
Ajax once again lifted the trophy for the 3rd consecutive time in 1973 after they defeated Juventus in the final game at Red Star Stadium in Belgrade. They triumphed by a lone goal and became the second team at that time to win the European Cup three times in a row. They are still one of the only 3 teams in the world to have achieved this feat.
- 1986 – 87 Season
Ajax again triumphed in Europe during the 1986/87 season. However, it wasn’t at the European Cup, but at the European Cup Winner’s Cup (now the Europa league Cup). This time they defeated Lokomotive Leipzig by a lone goal with their former talisman, Johann Cruyff as their manager.
- 1991 – 92 Season
European success came for Ajax again at the UEFA Cup in 1992. The Dutch club defeated Italian opposition, Torino on away goals after a 2-2 draw in the first leg away and a 0-0 stalemate at their home stadium.
- 1994 – 95 Season
Ajax tasted UEFA Champions League victory for the fourth time in 1995. They played and won the final game against AC Milan at the Ernst-Happel Stadion in Vienna by a lone goal.
After defeating the 3-time reigning champions and knocking them out of this year’s competition, Ajax will definitely be feeling that this is another chance for them to write their names in the history books again. Will they be able to see it through?
Well, if they continue playing at the level we saw on Tuesday night, maybe. Just maybe!
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