MX23RW : Sunday, October 17 11:56:50| >> :120:75486:75486:
Sep 28, 2021 at 5.45pm UK at Amsterdam Arena
AjaxAjax
2-0
BesiktasBesiktas
Berghuis (17'), Haller (43')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Yalcin (63'), Bozdogan (76'), Batshuayi (90+2')

Preview: Ajax vs. Besiktas - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between Ajax and Besiktas, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After a rampant start to the group stage against Sporting Lisbon, Ajax will welcome Turkish outfit Besiktas to Amsterdam in the second round of Champions League fixtures.

The Dutch champions thrashed Os Leoes in the curtain-raiser, while their visitors fell to a defeat at the hands of group favourites Borussia Dortmund.


Match preview

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag reacts in April 2021© Reuters

Ajax kicked off the group stage with a tricky test away at Portuguese champions Sporting Lisbon, and two Sebastian Haller goals inside the first 10 minutes put them in a dominant position, before Steven Berghuis restored their two-goal lead soon after Paulinho's goal for the hosts.

Haller went on to find the net twice more in the second half, taking his tally to four for the game and earning his side an eye-catching 5-1 victory.

Erik ten Hag's side come into Tuesday's game in a fine run of form, having won their last six games in all competitions, scoring 29 goals in that time while Paulinho's consolation for Sporting Lisbon is the only one that they have shipped at the other end.

Following the dominant victory in Portugal, de Godenzonen thrashed newly-promoted Cambuur 9-0 in Eredivisie action, as Jurrien Timber, Berghuis, Noussair Mazraoui, Dusan Tadic, Mohamed Daramy, Haller and Danilo all got on the scoresheet alongside a David Neres double.

They have since built on that with two more victories heading into Tuesday, as they defeated Fortuna Sittard and Groningen 5-0 and 3-0 respectively to take their points tally to 19 points from seven top-flight outings.

Ten Hag's men will now look to add a second group victory to further strengthen their bid to reach this year's knockout stage, after their memorable run to the semi-finals in the 2018-19 season.

Ajax players celebrate scoring against FC Midtjylland on November 25, 2020© Reuters

They meet a Besiktas side who will aim to bounce back from a defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the opening match.

The Black Eagles welcomed BVB to Istanbul, and goals from Jude Bellingham and Erling Braut Haaland saw the visitors take a 2-0 lead into the break, before Francisco Montero hit what would be a consolation goal for his side in the 94th minute.

While they bounced back with a 3-2 league win over Antalyaspor, as they came from two goals down in the second half, Sergen Yalcin's men have collected just one point from their last two league games.

The defending champions led 3-0 against Adana Demirspor, but an eye-catching comeback from the visitors saw Britt Assombalonga level the game in the 97th minute after goals from Matias Vargas and Mario Balotelli.

Last time out, Yalcin's men were handed a shock defeat by Altay, as Daouda Bamba hit an 88th-minute winner to snatch all three points, and they will now be desperate to bounce back in style with what would be an impressive victory in the Netherlands.

Ajax Champions League form:
  • W

Ajax form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Besiktas Champions League form:
  • L

Besiktas form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L



Team News

Ajax attacker Antony pictured in September 2021© Reuters

Ajax are without veteran goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg through injury, while Andre Onana continues to serve a ban, leaving Remko Pasveer to deputise between the sticks.

Davy Klaassen, Zakaria Labyad and Sean Klaiber will also remain out of action, with Ten Hag expected to name an unchanged XI from the Sporting Lisbon victory.

Sebastian Haller will lead the line with plenty of confidence, having hit four goals in his first Champions League appearance to take his tally to 22 goals, alongside nine assists, in 32 appearances since arriving in Amsterdam from West Ham United.

He should be supported by the impressive attacking trio of Dusan Tadic, Steven Berghuis and Antony, with Edson Alvarez and Ryan Gravenberch operating in the engine room.

Besiktas have an unenviable injury list to deal with, as Umut Meras, Ajdin Hasic, Mehmet Topal, Georges-Kevin N'Koudou and Necip Uysal are expected to miss out alongside experienced defender Domagoj Vida and key attackers Michy Batshuayi and Alex Teixeira.

Midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who recently arrived on loan from Barcelona, was forced off with a knock in the first half last time out and is unlikely to make the starting XI on Tuesday.

That could leave Atiba Hutchinson and Josef De Souza to partner up in the centre, while Kenan Karaman will continue to lead the line in Batshuayi's absence.

Ajax possible starting lineup:
Pasveer; Mazraoui, Timber, Martinez, Blind; Gravenberch, Alvarez; Anthony, Berghuis, Tadic; Haller

Besiktas possible starting lineup:
Destanoglu; Rosier, Welinton, Montero, Yilmaz; Hutchinson, Josef; Ghezzal, Ozyakup, Larin; Karaman


SM words green background

We say: Ajax 3-0 Besiktas

While their recent form sees Besiktas already arrive in Amsterdam as major underdogs, their extensive injury list only compounds their problems, and we see the Black Eagles being comfortably defeated.

Ajax have been in fine form this season, and should overrun a depleted Besiktas side on home turf, given their impressive attacking ranks.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:curl


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How you voted: Ajax vs Besiktas

Ajax
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Draw
5.8%
Besiktas
5.5%
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Andre Onana in Europa League action for Ajax in February 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Ajax97113223022
2PSV EindhovenPSV970222121021
3FC UtrechtUtrecht85211851317
4Feyenoord851222111116
5Willem II85121210216
6FC Twente84221410414
7Heerenveen94141114-313
8Vitesse8413815-713
9Cambuur94051622-612
10NEC83231015-511
11Heracles83141114-310
12Go Ahead Eagles93151118-710
13AZ AlkmaarAZ7304141229
14Fortuna SittardSittard8224816-88
15RKC WaalwijkRKC Waalwijk91441215-37
16Groningen8134714-76
17Sparta RotterdamSparta8134716-96
18PEC Zwolle9018317-141

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