Ajax take a slender lead to Poland as they look to see off Legia Warsaw and book a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

0000 milik legiaA single goal from Polish striker Arkaduisz Milik was enough to seal victory for Ajax last week in the Amsterdam Arena, but the Eredivisie champions relied on a number of saves from Jasper Cillessen to keep out a dangerous Legia side.

Milik was once again on target at the weekend but could not prevent his side from falling 14 points behind PSV in the title race as Ajax were held to a 1-1 draw at Willem II.

Frank de Boer has been boosted by the returns of centre back Joel Veltman and midfielder Jairo Riedewald, but striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson misses the match.

Possible Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Boilesen, Van der Hoorn, Moisander, Serero, Klaassen, Bazoer, Schone, Kishna, Milik

Opponents Legia controversially changed their whole line up for the weekend dual with Korona Kielce, but the Polish leaders still managed a 0-0 draw which keeps them at the top of the table.

Coach Henning Berg will likely recall the same starting line up which performed well in the Amsterdam Arena and he believes his side can reach the last 16, telling a press conference, “Legia and Ajax are equal opponents. We saw it in the first leg.”

“The Result from last Thursday wasn’t a good reflection of the game. We had many chances and played really well defensively. We still have a chance to go through and we’re going to do everything to do so. We have to show our 100%”

Possible Legia line-up: Kuciak, Broź, Rzeźniczak, Dossa Junior, Guilherme, Vrdoljak, Jodłowiec, Żyro, Masłowski, Kucharczyk, Sa.

The match will be played behind closed doors on Thursday after UEFA rejected Legia Warsaw’s appeal against fans from being banned for racist chanting during the group stage tie with Lokeren.

Key battles

Orlando Sa v Jasper Cillessen

Cillessen was man of the match for Ajax in the first leg, with the goalkeeper keeping out a number of efforts from Legia Warsaw, especially striker Orlando Sa, who really should have earned his side at least a draw. Sa is Legia’s top scorer this season and he will be eager to make up for his misses last week and fire his team to victory.

Arkaduisz Milik v Dusan Kuciak

Milik is a star in Poland after his goal-scoring exploits in the national team recently, and the forward was the difference during the first leg last week. The 20-year-old will undoubtedly get at least one chance on Thursday and if he can beat Kuciak he will get a crucial away goal which could seal Ajax’s place in the last 16.

Can Ajax end their Europa League misery?

For the last four years in a row Ajax have exited the Europa League in the first knockout round, but they head to Poland in a commanding position to finally reach the last 16. Legia showed last week that they are a dangerous side, and the Amsterdam side have been in poor form lately, but Ajax will undoubtedly get chances and an away goal would prove crucial.

Prediction: Legia Warsaw 1-1 Ajax




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