Ajax returned to Amsterdam on Tuesday with an advantage after beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in London in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final.
The 22 year-old Donny van de Beek’s strike in the 15th minute was the only goal of the day at the London Stadium, in a match in which the visitors dominated possession 54-46.
Tottenham now face a daunting task to overturn the advantage.
The two teams will next meet on 8 May in Amsterdam to decide who will go into the final against either Barcelona or Liverpool.
Ajax, having already knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus en route to their first semi-final in Europe’s elite competition since 1997, were too pacey for a labouring home side.
They were especially enterprising in the first half during which they could have scored more goals.
Tottenham did improve after the break but Ajax defended their lead diligently to restrict the home attack and almost scored a second goal late on when David Neres hit the post.
Tottenham, playing their first semi-final since 1962 went into the game without several key players.
Moussa Sissoko was on the bench before being called to duty after Jan Vertonghen was pulled out in the 39th minute following an injury incurred in a clash with Ajax keeper Andre Onana.
Missing were injured Harry Kane, Erik Lamela and Harry Winks, while Son Heung-min served out a suspension.
Ajax by contrast arrived in London injury free and have had a week to prepare after the entire Eredivisie calendar for last weekend was postponed to give them extra time to prepare.