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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Juve Doubles Dutch, Dortmund Edges United

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands -- Champion Juventus moved to within sight of the European Cup final with a disciplined 2-1 win away against Ajax in the first leg of their semifinal, and Borussia Dortmund grabbed a 1-0 lead against Manchester United after a fortunate second-half goal from stand-in Rene Tretschok.


Ajax managed to prevent a demolition job by the Italians, who destroyed AC Milan 6-1 during the weekend and scored what may prove to be a vital second-half goal.


But the Dutch champions could not stop the match, a replay of last year's final, going to Juventus again.


Ajax now has an uphill task, knowing it needs to score at least twice in Turin.


Ajax began well, attacking down the flanks through Marc Overmars and Nigerian international Tijani Babangida, but Juventus, playing a flat back four marshalled by the dominant Ciro Ferrara, was rarely troubled.


In the 14th minute, a Juventus counter involving Italy's new international Christian Vieri and France's Zinedine Zidane undid the Ajax defense and found Nicola Amoruso on hand at the edge of the six-meter box to slot the ball home.


Juve's second goal in the 41st minute again involved a quick break from defense.


This time, France's Didier Deschamps found Vieri with enough space on the edge of the penalty area to fire a well-placed shot beyond the diving grasp of Edwin van der Saar.


In the second half, the Ajax defense continued to struggle with the omnipresent Vieri, but in the 66th minute Ronald de Boer threaded a pass through to Jari Litmanen, who with only keeper Angelo Peruzzi to beat, kept his cool to score.


The goal lifted Ajax, but it was too little too late, and the Dutch side, already unlikely to win any domestic silverware, faces a tough return leg in the cavernous 69,000-seat Delle Alpi stadium in Turin on April 23.


A confident Dormund will go to Old Trafford after Tretschok, a late replacement, hit a crisp shot from just outside the area in the 76th minute that took a cruel deflection off Gary Pallister into the top left-hand corner.


Goalkeeper Raimond Van der Gouw, who replaced the injured Peter Schmeichel, just got his fingers to the ball but was unable to stop it from going into the top corner.


Although it was a lucky moment on a largely frustrating night for the German champions in their own Westfalen stadium, Dortmund deserved victory for its industry alone in difficult circumstances. The Germans went into the game without a handful of first-choice players. In addition to suspended libero Matthias Sammer, they were missing key international strikers Karlheinz Riedle and Stephane Chapuisat and experienced defender Juergen Kohler.


Despite the problems, they played better soccer than the nearly full-strength United team.


"It is a good result," coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said. "We are expecting a really intense atmosphere in the second leg in Manchester, but we have an experienced team and go into the return leg feeling optimistic."


Hitzfeld said he was surprised that United did not take the game to Dortmund more in the first half. But the English champions did have several good chances to score after the interval and were unlucky not to come away with a draw.


United received another blow Thursday when its request to extend the season to keep the side from facing as many as four matches in a week was turned down by the premier league.


Argentine coach Cesar Menotti says that he is "90 percent" certain of moving to serie A side Sampdoria next season.


"It looks like I'll be coaching Sampdoria next year. It looks 90 percent sure," he told Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.