Ajax head to Portugal on Wednesday to face Benfica knowing a victory will book their place in the Champions League knockout round. Kick-off is 8pm.

Ajax have had an excellent start in Group E so far with two wins and a draw in Germany against Bayern Munich. Two weeks ago, Noussair Mazraoui’s late winner saw off Benfica and Erik ten Hag’s side head to Lisbon knowing one more victory will be enough to ensure a place in the knockout rounds with two games to go.

Speaking to the press, Ten Hag said his side are just taking it a game at a time, but know they have a chance to beat Benfica, “I never occupy myself with or when, we have to live day by day and prepare for a match against a good opponent that we certainly have opportunities against, and that’s what we have to go for.”

Ajax head into the clash in great form, having won six games on the bounce in all competitions without conceding a single goal. At the weekend, Ten Hag’s side didn’t need to expend much energy in overcoming Willem II 2-0 in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Benfica are in rotten form at the moment with the 1-0 loss to Ajax two weeks ago kicking off a run of three straight defeats. At the weekend, Rui Vitória’s side was humbled 3-1 at home by Moreirense.

The Portuguese side currently sits third in the group on three points but Vitoria is confident of a result and feels his side want revenge after losing in Amsterdam, “This game is coming at a good time, my players want to show something after the last matches. I taste that conviction.”

Team News

Kasper Dolberg was a doubt for Ajax due to sickness but he has travelled and should be fit to play. Joel Veltman, Daley Sinkgraven and Hassane Bande are all still out. The big decision for Ten Hag is whether to start Donny van de Beek or David Neres.

Probable Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, Tagliafico, Blind, De Ligt, Van de Beek, Schone, De Jong, Ziyech, Tadic, Dolberg

Benfica are still without Ebuehi and Lema, while Krovinovic and Seferovic are both big doubts for the clash. Ruben Dias is back after being suspended for the last game.

Probable Benfica line-up: Vlachodimos; Andre Almeida, Ruben Dias, Jardel, Alex Grimaldo; Pizzi, Fejsa, Gedson Fernandes; Salvio, Jonas, Rafa Silva


Benfica 6/4 Draw 12/5 Ajax 2/1

Can Ajax get the victory?

Two weeks ago the clash in Amsterdam was very even and either side could have won it. In the end, it was Ajax, and that has increased the already huge confidence around the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Benfica, on the other hand, are in dire straights and they will be eager to prove a point on Wednesday.

Expect the Portuguese side to go on the attack from the start which may open up more gaps for the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Hakim Ziyech to do their thing at the other end.

A win would be excellent for Ajax, but a draw would also put them within touching distance of the next round. Ajax can definitely smell blood with this Benfica side and they may not have a better chance to seal their spot in the next round.

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