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UEFA Champions League

Anything can happen against Liverpool but first we have to celebrate – Alderweireld

6:22 PM EDT 5/8/19
Tottenham celebrate vs Ajax 2019
A fairy-tale hat-trick from Lucas Moura turned the tides of football history on Wednesday and Spurs will be well within their rights to party

Toby Alderweireld has said that 'anything can happen in one game' as Tottenham qualified to play Liverpool in the Champions League final, though the Belgian admitted that there will be plenty of celebrating on Wednesday evening in Amsterdam before preparations begin.

Spurs travelled to face Ajax an away-goal down in the Netherlands, and talk of a comeback fizzled out quickly as the hosts raced to a 2-0 lead courtesy of a free header duly buried by Matthijs de Ligt and a swerving rocket from Hakim Ziyech.

The Lilywhites emerged as a different beast in the second half, however, and an incredible hat-trick from Lucas Moura completed a European comeback that will go down as a classic in the history books – the second of those in as many days.

Given the overflow of emotions on the night, former Ajax man Alderweireld admitted to BT Sport that he and his team-mates would be partying after the game before they start planning to face Jurgen Klopp's Reds at the Wanda Metropolitano.

“First we have to celebrate and enjoy the night,” the centre-back said. “Then we have to prepare. We have three weeks to prepare ourselves in the best way possible. We're looking forward to it – anything can happen in one game.

Turning attentions to current events, Alderweireld took time to praise Wednesday's opponents – a club at which he spent five years and won three Eredivisie titles.

“You have to show Ajax a lot of respect. They have a great philosophy. I'm very proud to have a history with Ajax but at the other end I'm very proud to play for Spurs. 

“It's shows the way we've come. Fourth in the league, everybody's complaining about us, and still we're in the final of the Champions League, so that says a lot. People want more and more and more. Today is unbelievable.”

Coming from three goals behind in Europe is a rare feat, especially in European matches, though the shimmer of what Spurs achieved in reaching the final will have been dimmed slightly by Liverpool's 4-0 remontada against Barcelona on Tuesday.

Alderweireld, however, was all too happy to detail the rigours of such a monumental turnaround.

“I think after the first leg everybody said Ajax [would win] because of course they have a great team. Today we showed that we wanted it more. Mentally it was difficult [being two goals down], but from that moment we started playing better.

“It was mentally very hard. If you concede two goals you have to score three. I think this shows the team's mentality. It's been a difficult season for us. You seen the circumstances and then in the second half we played like this.

“We put our heart on the pitch. I'm so proud of this team.”