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Awesome Ajax hammer favoured Lyon 4-1 in 1st leg of Europa League semi-final tie

For Ajax, a win over Olympic Lyonnais means a lot in their bid to return to the Europa League final.

Lyon, after all, are the pre-match favourites, and Ajax the underdogs.

Ajax moved closer towards their target on Thursday. One more win and they will be in the stage that matters most.

The Eredivise side swamped the French team 4-1 in the first leg of their semi-final tie at the sold-out Amsterdam Arena and gained plenty of confidence to fulfill their mission.

Forward Bertrand Traore and midfielder Hakim Ziyech shared the limelight in the victory, each one unleashing dazzling displays to the delight of the partisan crowd.

Ajax played at the Amsterdam Arena for the first time since an announcement that the stadium will be renamed in honour of Ajax’s greatest player, Johan Cruyff. He must be smiling in heaven after his team won.

On-loan Chelsea man Traore scored a brace, while Ziyech supplied three assists as Peter Bosz’s youthful squad proved unrelenting against the Ligue 1 team.

Traore found the back of the net in the 25th minute by flicking a header past Lyon goalkeeper Anotio Lopes that opened the floodgates of their rampage.

A 21-year-old Burkina Faso international Traore also converted another goal, their fourth, in the 71st.

The other two Ajax goals were knocked in by attackers Kasper Dolberg in the 34th, through a deflected effort, and Amin Younes in the 49th.

Traore’s two goals were set up by Ziyech, who also fed Younes. Traore, meanwhile, was assist man in the strike of in-demand teenager Dolberg.

Mathieu Valbuena connected for Lyon in the 66th, and gave the French hope with the away goal but Ajax simply dashed their dream as Traore sealed the deal with a close-range shot to restore their three-goal lead, thanks again to Ziyech.

Younes, Ziyech, Davy Klaassen, and substitute Donny van de Beek all tried to score in the closing stages for Ajax but Lyon parried the late threat.

With his deadly touch, do we see Traore attracting attention from Chelsea and Manchester United?

The victory gave massive boost to the Amesterdam squad, a four-time European champion, heading into the second leg at Lyon on May 12.

Ajax coach Peter Bosz said after the match that his men wanted the win and they did it in an attractive way.

They are now on the brink of their first European final since 1996 when thy lost to Juventus on penalties.

Should they progress to the final, Ajax will meet either Manchester United or Celta de Vigo, who are fighting it out in the other semi-final pairing.

Now that Ajax have drawn first blood, can they keep their momentum going when they attempt to finish business at Lyon?