In Review

Champions League: Juventus vs. Ajax preview, team news, predictions, starting XIs, betting odds, TV

After a 1-1 draw in Holland the tie is evenly balanced ahead of the second leg

Juventus vs. Ajax
  • What: Uefa Champions League quarter-final second leg (1-1 on aggregate) 
  • When: Tuesday 16 April 
  • Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy 
  • Kick off: 8pm (UK time) 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport 3 
  • Referee: Clément Turpin (France)

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg the quarter-final tie between Juventus and Ajax is finely balanced ahead of Tuesday’s return fixture in Turin.

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 125th Champions League goal last week in Amsterdam and the Italians will hope the Portugal star can again make the difference against the talented Dutch side.

The “Old Lady” lost the 2015 and 2017 UCL finals and brought Ronaldo to Italy to help secure European club football’s biggest prize.

On Ronaldo Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri said: “Cristiano has extraordinary quality. In certain moments he becomes an unstoppable player and you can see it on his face.”

Juve missed out on securing an eighth successive Serie A title at the weekend after losing 2-1 against SPAL. However, Allegri rested a number of players, including Ronaldo, to prepare for the clash against Ajax.

Allegri said: “Making records is very difficult, you have to spend energy and there is also Europe to concentrate on.

“If we had put to put all our starters in, it would have been easier to win it, but there is the goal to obtain on Tuesday. We have made 27 victories, three draws and two defeats and this is an impressive record.”

Comeback kings

In the round of 16 both Ajax and Juventus completed memorable comebacks to beat the Madrid clubs. After losing 2-1 at home to Real Madrid Ajax travelled to the Bernabeu and won 4-1 on the night, 5-3 on aggregate.

Juve lost 2-0 in their last-16 first-leg tie against Atletico but Ronaldo starred with a second-leg hat-trick as the Italians won 3-0 in Turin, 3-2 on aggregate.

After David Neres scored an equaliser to cancel out Ronaldo’s goal in the quarter-final first leg, Ajax will be confident of another memorable away trip.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw in the first leg, Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag said: “One-one is not the result you hope for, but it is a result. Last time we lost 2-1 to Madrid at home, so we are still in it. We had some very good opportunities.”

The winners of the Juventus vs. Ajax tie will face Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals.

What the managers had to say

Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus: “The result of the first leg doesn’t count for anything. It’s a one-off game and we need to play with the same attitude as we did against Atletico. We need to have a lot of respect for Ajax in defence and be precise in our movements. It will be a physical game. To counteract their play we need to be technically sound and we’ll have to play better than we did in the first game.”

Erik ten Hag, Ajax: “At the start of the season, nobody expected us to be in the final eight of the Champions League. But the team has developed to such an extent that we can compete with these giants. We believe in it and have faith in a good result. That is how we will meet Juventus. This team [Juventus] are a lot better than Real. They are very mature. We did very well last week and we will have to do that again.”

Team news and possible starting XIs

Juventus injury news and suspensions

According to reports Juventus could be without Giorgio Chiellini, Martin Caceres, Emre Can and Douglas Costa because of injury. Blaise Matuidi is also a doubt after an injury in the first leg while forward Mario Mandžukić has a knee issue.

Ajax injury news and suspensions

Goal.com reports that Hassane Bande and Carel Eiting are both long-term absentees. Star midfielder Frenkie de Jong is also a doubt after coming off injured in Ajax’s 6-2 win over Excelsior at the weekend. 

Ten Hag said: “Frenkie himself will have to decide if he is ready, and eventually I decide if he will play.”

Nicolás Tagliafico misses the Turin clash because of suspension, Daley Sinkgraven could replace him. Noussair Mazraoui returns from suspension.

Possible starting XIs

How the teams could line up at the Allianz Stadium, according to Uefa.com.

  • Juventus possible starting XI: Szczęsny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Emre Can, Pjanić, Matuidi; Bernardeschi; Kean, Ronaldo 
  • Ajax possible starting XI: ​Onana; Veltman, De Ligt, Blind, Mazraoui; Schöne, Van de Beek, De Jong; Ziyech, Tadić, Neres

Predictions

90min: “Juventus aren’t necessarily at the peak of their powers right now and they have a number of first-team stars out injured, but their insatiable desire to end the long wait for Champions League glory shouldn’t be underestimated. Ajax have performed admirably to get themselves into this position and, if they can grab an early away goal then they’ll have a genuine shot at causing another upset. They don’t, however, have Ronaldo in their ranks. As proven countless times, the Portuguese superstar lives for games like this and his influence could end up deciding the outcome of the match. It certainly won’t be straightforward, but Juventus should have enough experience to get the job done. Score prediction: Juventus 2 Ajax 1 [3-2 on aggregate].”

SportsMole: “Ajax should not be written off on the back of their incredible win at the Bernabeu. Despite having momentum on their side, though, they do not boast a player with the game-changing abilities of Ronaldo. That, quite simply, could well be the difference between the sides over the two legs. Score prediction: Juventus 2 Ajax 1 [3-2 on aggregate].”

Juve vs. Ajax betting odds

As of 15 April, see Oddschecker for the latest prices.

Match betting
  • Juventus to win: 8/11 
  • Draw: 3/1 
  • Ajax to win: 9/2
To qualify
  • Juventus: 4/11 
  • Ajax: 5/2
To win the Champions League
  • Juventus: 4/1   
  • Ajax: 28/1  

Quarter-final second-leg fixtures and TV guide

Tuesday 16 April
Wednesday 17 April
  • Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (0-1 on aggregate; 8pm live on BT Sport 2) 
  • FC Porto vs. Liverpool (0-2 on aggregate; 8pm live on BT Sport 3)

Quarter-final first-leg results

Recommended

Forget titles, Newcastle’s first battle is to avoid relegation
Newcastle’s new chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and part-owner Amanda Staveley
View from the terraces

Forget titles, Newcastle’s first battle is to avoid relegation

Exiles, revolting prisoners and sporting health
Bashar al-Assad
Podcast

Exiles, revolting prisoners and sporting health

The Ashes: a tough task for England down under
Ben Stokes: England’s missing talisman
In Focus

The Ashes: a tough task for England down under

‘Poisoned chalice’: a tough job for Raducanu’s next coach
Emma Raducanu was beaten by Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Indian Wells
In Focus

‘Poisoned chalice’: a tough job for Raducanu’s next coach

Popular articles

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined
Boy receiving Covid vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined

Why some PCR results are negative after a positive lateral flow test
Pupils at a school in Halifax line up for lateral flow tests
Why we’re talking about . . .

Why some PCR results are negative after a positive lateral flow test

Insulate Britain: what do they want?
Insulate Britain protesters
Profile

Insulate Britain: what do they want?

The Week Footer Banner