Champions League: Ajax stuns Juventus, Barcelona cruises past United

April 16 (UPI) — Ajax continued its improbable run and Barcelona raced past Manchester United as both clubs advanced to the UEFA Champions League semifinals Tuesday.

Ajax knocked out Juventus with a 2-1 victory to reach its first Champions league semifinal since 1997. Ajax’s 19-year-old captain Matthijs de Ligt scored the game-winning goal in the 67th minute as his team rallied to clinch a 3-2 aggregate win.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo, searching for his fourth consecutive Champions League title after winning the previous three with Real Madrid, put his team ahead in the 28th minute with a header. It was his sixth goal in this year’s competition and the 126th Champions League goal of his career.

Donny van de Beek evened the score six minutes later with a shot past Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. Ajax took control in the second half and ultimately clinched the victory after de Ligt outjumped two defenders and headed in the winner.

Ajax plays the winner of the Tottenham and Manchester City matchup in the last four.

In other Champions League action, Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 victory over Manchester United on Tuesday at Camp Nou. Lionel Messi scored twice as Barca picked up a 4-0 aggregate win to reach the semifinals.

Messi’s first goal came in the 16th minute after he curled a shot past United goalkeeper David De Gea. Four minutes later, Messi found the net again after the ball squeezed under the body of De Gea.

Philippe Coutinho put the game away with a brilliant shot in the 61st minute. Jordi Alba set up Coutinho, who booted the ball into the top-right corner of the net.

Barcelona takes on the winner of the FC Porto and Liverpool matchup in the semifinals.

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