Moura's Hatter Spurs Tottenham into Champions League Final
The local fans at Johan Cruijff ArenA -- yes, that's how they spell it -- must've been wondering if the referee's watch was on UK time.
In a way, it was.
Tottenham Hotspur kept getting stronger as their Champions League semi-final match got longer.
By the 96th minute -- amid a cacophony of whistles from the stands -- their triumph was complete.
Fighting against a 2-0 first-half deficit, Spurs charged back as Lucas Moura popped three goals after intermission to gain a 2-3 result and advance to the final based on a 3-3 aggregate and an away-goal advantage.
Frankly, no complaints from here. There was enough sauntering and other time-sucking moments to justify the time added on, which is a welcome trend in Europe these days. More action for the paying customers.
This batch of Ajax's Godenzonen -- Sons of Gods -- is as prime an example as the club's football academy gets.
Their young roster is leading the Dutch First Division on goal difference against an experienced PSV side ...
It looked like they'd bag another big brand, but Spurs have motivation of their own. Dudes have a brand new stadium, but their trophy case didn't exactly need any additional space:
- Their last top-division title -- 1960-61 --came years before the Premiership was formed;
- Their last domestic triumph was the League Cup in 2007-08; and
- Their last European championship was the UEFA Cup in 1983-1984.
Their play in the second half clearly confirmed this realization.
These are shining times for the world's richest league, which earned that status in part because it features the world's hardest-working clubs and proved it yet again, in spades, this week.
The Premiership will now boast this season's Champions League winner, with both Liverpool and Spurs making the trek to Madrid, no doubt relishing the opportunity to tweak a few Spanish big-brand noses by their mere presence.
Ajax, meanwhile, can be proud of their deep run and get on with their annual end-season ritual of selling their best players for lotsa dosh so they can reload.
It's the way of the footballing world for all but the richest.