Ajax host PAOK Salonika on Tuesday evening looking to book their place in the Champions League playoff round. Kick-off is 7.30pm.

Last week in Greece, Ajax took the lead through an own-goal but found themselves behind at the break when PAOK took control for a 15 minute spell. In the second half, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar netted Ajax’s equaliser but despite putting pressure on the hosts, they could not find a winner.

The second leg is now finely poised with Ajax going into the game with two away goals and plenty of confidence having hammered FC Emmen 5-0 at the weekend to earn their first Eredivisie win of the campaign.

PAOK have had a week of rest with their league campaign still not underway.

Erik ten Hag thinks it was an advantage that Ajax played this weekend and PAOK didn’t, “They had a week off and we played but I think that’s an advantage for us.

“In this phase we need a lot of minutes to get used to each other, to achieve automatisms and to get better physically.”

The winner of this tie will go on to face either Qarabag or APOEL Nicosia. Qarabag take a 2-1 lead into the second leg.

Team News

Erik ten Hag has a wealth of options to choose from with Noussair Mazraoui recovering from a slight knock. Edson Alvarez appeared on the bench for the first time against Emmen and could make his debut.

Against Emmen, Dusan Tadic replaced Kasper Dolberg up front, David Neres came into the eleven and Mazraoui returned to right-back with Rasvan Marin coming into midfield. He could choose the same eleven on Tuesday.

Possible Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, Tagliafico, Veltman, Martinez, Blind, Marin, Van de Beek, Ziyech, Neres, Tadic

PAOK have no fresh issues after the first leg last week and could line-up with the same eleven.

Possible PAOK line-up: Paschalakis, Matos, Giannoulis, Crespo, Varela, El Kaddouri, Esiti, Biseswar, Leo, Pelkas, Akpom

Odds

Ajax 4/11 Draw 4/1 PAOK 13/2

Can Ajax finish the job on Tuesday?

Apart from 15 minutes in the first-leg, Ajax dominated on Tuesday and should have won the game.

Ajax will now look to get the job done in Amsterdam on Tuesday and they are the big favourites. Ten Hag’s attack clicked on Saturday in the 5-0 win over Emmen and if they play like that again then PAOK should be no problem.

Defensively, Ajax weren’t secure in Greece with Perr Schuurs in the centre and Joel Veltman at right back, caught out at times. However, Ten Hag is likely to return Mazraoui to right-back which makes his side far more solid.

With a very winnable tie against Qarabag possibly waiting in the next round, Ajax need to see of PAOK. If they don’t it would be an absolute disaster for Dutch football and its coefficient.




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