Ajax will look to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals when they host Benfica in the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Tuesday. The kick-off is at 20.00.

Three weeks ago, Ajax led twice in Portugal but Benfica fought back to earn a 2-2 draw which leaves the tie balanced going into the second leg.

Ajax remains top of the Eredivisie table at the moment but their form has been criticised recently with 90th-minute goals needed to defeat both RKC Waalwijk and most recently Cambuur.

Benfica could only manage a disappointing 1-1 draw with Vizela on Friday which keeps them third in the Portuguese league.

Team News

Jurrien Timber and Lisandro Martinez should return to the starting line-up, with neither starting in the win over Cambuur. Andre Onana will remain in goal with Remko Pasveer, Maarten Stekelenburg and Jay Gorter all out.

Edson Alvarez is also back in contention after overcoming illness meaning Ten Hag has to decide whether Ryan Gravenberch or Davy Klaassen begins in the midfield.

Possible Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, Blind, Timber, Martinez, Gravenberch, Alvarez, Berghuis, Antony, Tadic, Haller

Nicolas Otamendi missed the league draw on Friday but he should be fit enough to start on Tuesday alongside former Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen.

Hans Seferovic, Rodrigo Pinho and Lucas Verissimo are set to miss the match.

Possible Benfica line-up: Vlachodimos; Lazaro, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Silva, Weigl, Taarabt, Everton; Ramos, Nunez


Ajax 4/11 Draw 9/2 Benfica 6/1

Ajax need to sort defensive issues to book a quarter-final spot

Ajax goes into the clash on Tuesday as favourites to progress and there is no doubt that the Amsterdam club has the fire-power to see off Benfica.

The main concern for Erik ten Hag is his side’s defensive woes recently, but the return of Jurrien Timber and Lisandro Martinez is a big boost. The duo is crucial to Ajax and they are a big reason why the club breezed through the group stages.

It will be a great atmosphere in the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Tuesday and Ajax will look to make a fast start. An early goal could be crucial if Ajax are to book their place in the last eight as expected.

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