Ajax face Italian giants AC Milan at the San Siro looking to book a place in the Champions League knockout round.

  • By Michael Bell
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denswil abThe 2-1 win over Barcelona in the last round of matches has given Ajax hope of qualifying out of Group H, but with AC Milan a point ahead of the Eredivisie champions, nothing but a win will do.

Earlier in the season, AC Milan needed a late, and controversial penalty to escape the Amsterdam Arena with a 1-1 draw, after Ajax dominated the game.

Ajax are currently in great form, and on Saturday registered their sixth win in a row with a 4-0 thrashing of NAC Breda. Young midfielder Davy Klaassen netted a hat-trick, and he will once again be the one to watch for the Amsterdammers.

However they travel to Milan without outstanding 21-year-old defender Joel Veltman, who serves a suspension after being sent off against Barcelona. Left back Nicolai Boilesen, and captain Siem de Jong will also miss Wednesday’s game due to injury.

Ex-AC Milan striker Bojan is in line for a start against his former club after netting in Saturday’s win, but will face competition from Danny Hoesen, and the returning Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.

Opponents AC Milan are unbeaten in their last five matches, but have not won at the San Siro since a 1-0 victory over Udinese in October. On Saturday, a late Mario Balotelli goal was needed to avoid defeat to Livorno in a 2-2 draw.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side are without Robinho, Marco Amelia, Ignazio Abate, Matias Silvestre, and Valter Birsa, but striker Giampaolo Pazzini is back in the squad for the first time this season.

Likely line-ups:

AC Milan: Abbiati, Poli, Constant, Mexes, Zapata, De Jong, Montolivo, Nocerino, Kaka, El Shaarawy, Balotelli

Ajax: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Moisander, Denswil, Ligeon, Blind, Serero, Klaassen, Fischer, Schone, Bojan

If Ajax can win on Wednesday it will be the first time since 2006 that they have managed to qualify from the group stages. It would also be another huge achievement for coach Frank de Boer, who has already proved his skills by leading the Amsterdam club to three Eredivisie titles in a row.

However they will come up against a determined and hugely talented AC Milan squad, who’s attacking trio of Kaka, El Shaarawy, and Balotelli would put fear into any clubs defence.

Three years ago, Ajax traveled to the San Siro needing a win to finish third in their Champions League group, and qualify for the Europa League. Luis Suarez & Co won 2-0 in Milan, and coach Frank de Boer will look to use the famous win to inspire his young side.

Although this Milan side is arguably much weaker than the one Ajax defeated in 2010, they will start the game as heavy favourites, and it will need to be a faultless performance by the Dutch side if they are to return to Amsterdam with another win.

European football is guaranteed for Ajax, but we will find out on Wednesday if its Europa League or Champions League action after the winter break.

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