Ajax have one foot in the Europa League final and will look to finish the job on Thursday when they face Lyon in France. The second leg kicks off at 8.05pm.

Last Wednesday, Peter Bosz’s side lit up the soon to be Johan Cruijff Arena and rekindled memories of the great Ajax sides of old as they tore Lyon apart. The final score was 4-1 to the Amsterdammers but that could have been seven or eight as Lyon struggled to deal with Ajax’s dynamic frontline.

Now Ajax head to Parc Olympique Lyonnais looking to seal a place in their first major European final since the 1996 Champions League defeat to Juventus. Ajax will hopefully have learned their lesson from the quarter-final with Schalke where they took a 2-0 lead to Germany but squandered it and needed two goals in extra-time to progress.

Speaking at his pre-match conference, Bosz doesn’t expect his side to collapse like they did against Schalke,  “The match against Lyon is not comparable with Schalke. A different scenario will unfold. Each game has its own story.”

A lack of experience in his side also doesn’t worry Bosz, “We have a young team, but this is our eighteenth European competition this season. We have enough experience. ”

Opponents Lyon are confident of turning the tie around, with coach Bruno Genesio saying, “We’ll have to create chances and take them, but also remain calm and organised when we lose the ball.

“We have to remember that we scored three goals on Sunday. And if we score three against Ajax, we could go through.”

Lyon did score three goals on Sunday, but they also conceded twice in the 3-2 win over Nantes, and their leaky defence is what will give Ajax more confidence on Thursday. If Ajax can get an away goal then the Dutch side will be huge favourites to progress to the final in Stockholm.

Team news

Ajax have an almost fully fit squad to choose from with Joel Veltman and Nick Viergever returning from suspension. Daley Sinkgraven is the only absentee with the left-back still struggling for injury. Tete and Riedewald are likely to drop to the bench to make way for Veltman and Viergever.

Bosz rested most of his first-choice side for the win over Go Ahead Eagles at the weekend, meaning the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Bertrand Traore and Amin Younes will all be fresh on Thursday.

Possible Ajax line-up: Onana, Veltman, Viergever, Sanchez, De Ligt, Schone, Ziyech, Klaassen, Traore, Younes, Dolberg

Lyon are pinning most of their hopes on top scorer Alexandre Lacazette, who is back to full fitness and should start on Thursday, having only played a part from the bench last week. Memphis Depay, who got two assists in the win over Nantes at the weekend, is once again cup tied.

Possible Lyon line-up: Lopes; Jallet, Nkoulou, Diakhaby, Morel; Tousart, Gonalons; Cornet, Tolisso, Valbuena; Lacazette

Odds

Lyon 4/6 Draw 7/2 Ajax 4/1

Form (all competitions)

Lyon: WLWLLW

Ajax: WWLLWW

Facts

-Lyon have scored 13 goals in their knock-out games at home so far in the competition, but they have conceded in each of those as well

-Ajax have conceded four goals in Europe this season, losing 4-1 against Rostov in the Champions League qualifiers early in the season

-Lyon have never beaten Ajax, losing three of their five meetings and drawing the other two

– Lyon have the highest goals-per-game average of any side in this season’s UEFA Europa League: 2.86

– Ajax are without a win in their last five European away games, drawing three and losing two.

-Ajax are the only club left in the competition that has won the Europa League/ UEFA Cup in the past. The Amsterdammers lifted the trophy in 1992.




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