Ajax gets their Champions League campaign underway in Portugal on Wednesday evening. Erik ten Hag’s side takes on Portuguese champions Sporting CP. The kick-off is at 20.00.

It has been three seasons since Ajax made the Champions League semi-finals and in the years following they have not been further than the competitions group stages. The Champions League is where Ajax wants to excel and this season they are eager to make the knockout rounds.

On paper, the group stage draw has been kinder to Ajax this year, but they must overcome German giants Borussia Dortmund and Turkish champions Besiktas. First up on Wednesday for Erik ten Hag’s side is a trip to Lisbon to face Sporting CP, who took the Portuguese title ahead of Porto and Benfica.

Ajax go into the game unbeaten so far this season with three wins and one draw from their opening four Eredivisie matches.

Opponents Sporting CP started the season with four wins in a row but that has been followed up by 1-1 draws against Famalicao and Porto.

Team News

Erik ten Hag will be without Davy Klaassen for the clash in Portugal but he does have Lisandro Martinez, Nicolas Tagliafico, and Maarten Stekelenburg back after they missed the weekend win over PEC Zwolle.

With Klaassen out, Ten Hag may decide to continue with Steven Berghuis at number ten.

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

Sporting will be without key centre-back Sebastian Coates and star forward Pedro Goncalves. Centre-back Goncalo Inacio and attacker Tiago Tomas are also minor doubts.

Possible Sporting line-up: Adan; Feddal, Inacio, Reis; Esgaio, Palhinha, Nunes, Vinagre; Cabral, Paulinho, Santos

Odds

Sporting CP 19/10 Draw 5/2 Ajax 11/8

Can Ajax start with a victory?

This is set to be a tight affair with both sides hoping to get off to a good start, and a win for Ajax would be huge as they look to end their three-year wait for a knockout round spot.

Ajax away from home in the Champions League play with attacking freedom and their pace on the counter could be a major weapon against Sporting. However, the Portuguese side cannot be underestimated, even without two of their key players.

If the defence can remain tight then Ajax has a great chance of coming away from Portugal with a major three points.




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