Ajax travel to Norway to face Molde in the second of their Europa League group stage ties.

ajax euroAjax will make their 350th European competition appearance on Thursday as they face Molde in a crucial tie for the Eredivisie leaders. After a disappointing 2-2 draw with Celtic in their opening tie of the group Ajax will be looking to get back on track in Norway, but they will come up against a tricky Molde side, who shocked Fenerbahce 3-1 in Turkey two weeks ago.

Domestically Ajax are in brilliant form with the weekends 2-0 win over Groningen their sixth victory out of seven matches and Frank de Boer’s side currently lead second placed Feyenoord by three points. By contract Molde are currently struggling for league form, with two defeats in their last two matches leaving the champions sitting in seventh with only five matches left.

Team News

Ajax have traveled to Norway with only one main absentee as Yaya Sonogo continues to struggle with a niggling injury. De Boer’s main task will be deciding whether Viktor Fischer or Amin Younes starts on the left wing, while Riechedly Bazoer should return to the starting eleven after missing the Celtic tie through suspension. De Boer may decide to rest a few players with a crucial weekend tie with PSV coming up on Sunday.

Possible Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Tete, Dijks, Riedewald, Veltman, Bazoer, Gudelj, Klaassen, El Ghazi, Fischer, Milik

Molde will be without star winger Mohamed Elyounoussi for the tie after he was sent off in the win over Fenerbahce. Joshua Gatt also misses out through suspension.

Possible Molde line-up: Horvath, Linnes, Rindaroy, Forren, Tolvio, Hestad, Singh, Mostrom, Agnaldo, Kamara, Hoiland

Head to Head

Molde and Ajax have never met in European competition before. However Molde beat Heerenveen home and away in the competition during the 11/12 season, while Ajax have faced Norwegian opponents eight times, winning three of those ties, drawing three, and losing two. Their most recent was a 9-2 aggregate victory over IK Start in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup.

Key Players

Riechedly Bazoer

The 18-year-old’s outstanding start to the season continued at the weekend as he completely dominated the midfield in Ajax’s 2-0 win over Groningen. Bazoer was sorely missed during the draw with Ajax two weeks ago, but he will be back for the Molde game and his fierce tackling and composure on the ball will be crucial if Ajax are to be victorious.

Harmeet Singh

Once nicknamed “The Norwegian Messi” Singh’s name will be familiar to Dutch football fans after the midfielder had an unsuccessful two-year stint with Feyenoord before signing for Molde. The defensive midfielder will come up against Davy Klaassen and Nemanja Gudelj on Thursday and if Singh is on top form Ajax could find it difficult to find a way through.

admin (13631 Posts)

Follow @Footballoranje_ on Twitter