Chelsea loanee Bertrand Traore scored twice as Ajax swept to a comfortable 4-1 first-leg victory against Lyon in the Europa League semi-final.
The home side produced a performance of energy, agility and invention to overwhelm their French visitors, who still caused them enough problems such that the second leg is not quite a formality.
Strangely, Ajax looked overawed through the opening passage, but then on 25 minutes, the superb Hakim Ziyech whipped in a perfect free-kick, and Traore flicked a header into the far corner.
Nine minutes later Ajax had another, Traore winning a header after a botched goalkick to send Kasper Dolberg through. He composed himself and beat Anthony Lopes with an expert's finish.
Ajax's running in and through midfield was just too much for Lyon, whose defending was almost unbearably miserable. And sure enough, Peter Bosz's men scored again just after half-time, Amin Younes, who should've had several more, beating Lopes with the aid of a deflection.
To Lyon's credit, Mathieu Valbuena's excellent finish dragged them back into the tie on 66 minutes, but just five minutes later, Traore finished yet another fine move to put the lead back at three, where it stayed - just.
Of course, the likelihood is that Ajax will reach the final, but they will still be wary of what might happen in France. Alexandre Lacazette will be fit enough to start, and Andre Onana, their goalkeeper, had a very good night because he needed to. Or, put another way, this was a terrific game of football; do not, under any circumstances, miss the return.
What do Lyon do in training? Some defenders are better than others, and there are many great ones anywhere in world football. But that is no excuse for the lack of composure and organisation that Lyon displayed tonight, not for the first time. The players have plenty to answer for, but likewise, so does the coach.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Bertrand Traore (Ajax) Though he had several rivals, most particularly Hakim Zoyech and Andre Onana, Traore was a constant threat and scored the crucial first goal, then added the fourth when another for Lyon would've somehow left them in a strong position in the tie.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Chelsea loan star Traore scores double as Ajax beat Lyon in first leg