Ajax and Atalanta face off for Champions League final 16 spot


Atalanta head to Ajax with a slender benefit forward of Wednesday’s showdown for a spot within the Champions League final 16 on the ultimate day of group motion.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta sit second behind Group D winners Liverpool and one level forward of third-placed Ajax, and must keep away from defeat in Amsterdam to ebook their place within the knockout levels for the second consecutive yr.

4-time European champions Ajax — final winners in 1995 — should win to make sure their passage after lacking out final season.

The encounter on the Johan Cruyff Enviornment options two groups who drew 2-2 in Bergamo on matchday two, when Atalanta got here again from two targets down because of a Duvan Zapata brace.

“Now we have the benefit of going to Amsterdam with the potential of qualifying with a draw,” stated Gasperini after a disappointing 1-1 dwelling draw with Danish aspect Midtjylland final trip.

Each groups have captured Europe’s creativeness with their trendy play in recent times, however have proven a dip in kind amid the tight schedule of video games.

In 2019 Erik ten Hag’s younger weapons shocked Juventus and Actual Madrid on their approach to reaching the semi-finals for the primary time since 1997, however final season they didn’t make it previous the group stage after promoting a few of their largest stars.

Atalanta pulled off the unbelievable by reaching the quarter-finals final season on their debut within the European competitors, regardless of dropping their three opening group video games.

Of their first marketing campaign, the northern Italian aspect performed their European dwelling video games at San Siro as a result of their very own stadium was present process renovation work.

However regardless of enjoying this season in Bergamo, they haven’t gained a European match at dwelling, with attracts towards Ajax and Midtjylland, and a heavy 5-0 defeat to Liverpool.

On the street the Italians have had extra success, beating Midtjylland 4-0 and stunning Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield.

Ajax misplaced 1-0 dwelling and away to Liverpool, and gained their two video games towards Midtjylland.

– ‘Sluggish’ –

Nevertheless Atalanta have picked up only one win of their final six video games in Serie A and the Champions League.

Forwards Zapata, Luis Muriel and captain Papu Gomez — who’ve 15 targets between them this season — have gone six video games with out scoring.

“The fixture schedule is basically tight and this precipitated issues for all groups,” stated Gasperini.

“The performances have been there, identical to the flexibility to react to defeats just like the one suffered towards Liverpool.”

Gasperini’s aspect got room to catch their breath earlier than their Dutch journey after Sunday’s Serie A sport at Udinese was postponed resulting from heavy rain making the pitch unplayable.

Ajax are unbeaten of their final seven video games towards Italian opponents within the Champions League, with their final defeat coming towards Inter Milan in March 2006.

Dusan Tadic has been concerned in 5 of Ajax’s seven targets on this Champions League — scoring two and organising three others.

The Serb scored a penalty on the weekend however Ajax fell to only their second league defeat this season, 2-1 to FC Twente, not the costume rehearsal Ten Hag had been hoping for.

“It was too sluggish. It did not seem like the staff have been able to play,” the coach stated.

ea/td



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