Ajax head to Rome on Thursday needing to turn around a 2-1 deficit if they are to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Last Thursday, Ajax took the lead through Davy Klaassen but then they failed to take their chances, and Roma left Amsterdam with a 2-1 victory that puts them in firm command of the quarter-final.

Ajax now need to overturn the deficit on Thursday and know they must at least score twice if they are to book a place in the last four against either Granada or Manchester United.

Ajax warmed up for the game with a slender 1-0 victory over RKC Waalwijk, while Roma saw off Bologna 1-0.

Roma boss Paul Fonseca has told his press conference ahead of the game that his side are focused on defending well in the game, “We have prepared well by focusing on the defensive details. We must defend well. We will have to, because they are attackingly strong. Whether we can avoid the moments of panic? We all know we cannot afford to make mistakes. We have to be focused and mentally balanced. In Amsterdam we had a hard time in the phase after they scored, but we stayed in balance and made the turnaround later in the game.”

Team News

Ajax have travelled to Italy with Maarten Stekelenburg, Perr Schuurs and Brian Brobbey who are all fit enough to play in the game. Devyne Rensch is suspended, while Daley Blind, Noussair Mazraoui and Zakaria Labyad are injured.

There has been calls for Ten Hag to start with Brobbey up front, but Ten Hag may decide to stick with the front three of David Neres, Antony and Dusan Tadic.

Possible Ajax line-up: Stekelenburg, Timber, Tagliafico, Schuurs, Martinez, Gravenberch, Alvarez, Klaassen, Neres, Antony, Tadic

Roma will welcome Rick Karsdorp back into the starting line-up after he was suspended for the first-leg.

Leonardo Spinazzola is out after sustaining an injury in the first-leg, while Bruno Peres is suspended. Chris Smalling and Stephan El Shaarawy are doubts, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan could make his comeback.

Possible Roma line-up: Pau Lopez; Mancini, Cristante, Ibañez; Karsdorp, Villar, Veretout, Calafiori; Pellegrini, Pedro; Džeko

Odds

Roma 7/4 Draw 14/5 Ajax 27/20

Can Ajax turn the tie around?

Ajax were the better side in the first-leg but they could not take their chances and a goalkeeping error from Kjell Scherpen, along with a lack of concentration from a corner, cost them dearly.

However, all is not lost with Ajax usually stronger away from home in Europe than they are in Amsterdam. Ten Hag’s side are more than capable of turning the tie around on Thursday but they will need to remain strong at the back and be more clinical in front of goal.

The game on Thursday should be entertaining with Ajax needing to go on the attack, which could lead to plenty of chances at both ends.

To warm up further for this important fixture, watch our match reaction podcast to last Thursday below:




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