TURIN: Cristiano Ronaldo’s command of the Champions League is at an end after his Juventus were overturned 2-1 at home and 3-2 on aggregate by the away-day specialists of a resurgent Ajax Amsterdam. The Dutch club will face Manchester City or Tottenham in the semi-finals.
The night’s other quarter-final second leg went the predictable way of Barcelona who overcame some early scares to defeat Manchester United 3-0 and 4-0 overall.
In Turin Ronaldo, a Champions League for the past three years with Real Madrid and five times in all, headed the hosts in front from a first-half corner with his record-extending 126th goal in the competition.
But Ajax equalised within six minutes as Donny van de Beek controlled Hakim Ziyech’s shot and shot past keeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Ziyech went close after the break before De Ligt, up from the back, scored decisive Ajax second with a powerful header just inside Szczesny’s right-hand post.
The away-goals rule left Juventus needing two in the remaining 23 minutes, but it could have been even more comfortable for the visitors in the closing stages with David Neres shooting wide and Ziyech flagged offside after whipping a smart shot into the top corner.
Ajax were well worth a further away-day success after their victory over holders Real Madrid in the second round.
Barca cruise control
Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to their crushing victory over Manchester United in second leg.
United, trailing 1-0 from the first leg, started brightly when Marcus Rashford hit the bar after only 40 seconds. After that they were undone by brilliance of Messi.
First the Argentinian punished careless play by Ashley Young in the 16th minute and then he seized on a slip by Fred and shot low for goal with a shot which David De Gea allowed to slip under his body.
Philippe Coutinho added a third for Barca in the 61st minute, curling a stunning effort into the top corner from distance.
Alexis Sanchez’s diving header, which was spectacularly saved by Barca goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen in the 90th minute, was as close at the visitors came in the second half.
It was a disappointing night for United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the ground where he scored his most famous goal, the stoppage-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final.
Barcelona will Liverpool or Porto in the semi-finals.