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Ten Hag rues “cruel” UCL exit

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag lamented his side’s UEFA Champions League semi-final exit at the hands of Tottenham.

The Dutch side looked certain to make it to the final having taken a 2-0 lead in the first half to go 3-0 up on aggregate in Amsterdam.

However, a sublime performance by Spurs in the second half, where Lucas Moura bagged his third goal of the match in the 96th minute, ultimately cost Ajax their spot in the decider.

“I told the players that first of all it’s very hard to find the right words for a moment like that, and that football can be cruel,” said ten Hag after the match.

“This is the cruel side of football that we have to endure tonight, but we’ll have to go on.

“We were so close and we deserved it. Giving away the lead was careless. I calmly told the players that it was not over yet. You saw that Spurs still believed.

“You have to keep going, but it became increasingly difficult. Spurs started to play more opportunistically and we just didn’t play well on the counter-attack.

“If we had scored instead of hitting the post, we would have ended the match.”

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