UEFA QF: Ajax vs Juventus – Preview

UEFA QF: Ajax vs Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo will start Juventus’ Champions League quarter-final with Ajax after recovering from injury, manager Massimiliano Allegri says.

Ronaldo – who has been nursing a thigh strain – has not played for Juve since he scored a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in the last round on 12 March.

Giorgio Chiellini misses out with a calf strain, while Emre Can also stays behind with an ankle issue.

Ajax have no fresh injury concerns before the first leg in Amsterdam

Possible line-ups

Ajax: Onana; Veltman, De Ligt, Blind, Tagliafico; Van de Beek, Schöne, De Jong; Ziyech, Tadić, Neres
Out: Bandé (calf), Mazraoui (suspended)
Misses next game if booked: Blind, De Ligt, Tagliafico, Van de Beek

Juventus: Szczęsny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Betancur, Pjanić, Matuidi; Bernardeschi; Mandžukić, Ronaldo
Out: Cáceres (thigh), Can (ankle), Chiellini (calf)
Doubtful: Barzagli (calf), Douglas Costa (thigh), Perin (shoulder), Ronaldo (thigh)
Misses next game if booked: Bernardeschi, Matuidi

Match facts

Head-to-head

  • Ajax and Juventus will be facing for the ninth time in the European Cup/Champions League and for the first time since November 2004. The Dutch side have not beaten the Italians in the competition since winning the 1973 European Cup final in Belgrade (1-0).
  • Juventus are unbeaten in each of their past nine European matches against Ajax (W5 D4), including a draw in the 1996 Champions League final before going on to lift the trophy thanks to a penalty shootout victory.
  • Ajax will host Juventus in a Champions League encounter for the first time since September 2004 in the group stages, when they fell to a 0-1 defeat thanks to a Pavel Nedved strike for the Italians.

Ajax

  • Ajax knocked out defending champions Real Madrid in the last round; indeed, the last side to knockout the current holders of the Champions League was Atletico Madrid (v Barcelona) during the quarter finals in 2015-16, going on to lose in the final against Real Madrid.
  • They are the first Dutch side to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League since PSV in 2006-07. Indeed, Ajax find themselves at this stage for the first time since 2002-03, when they were eliminated by AC Milan.
  • Ajax have had a younger starting XI on average (24 years 202 days) in the Champions League this season than any other side left in the competition.

Juventus

  • Juventus have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the third successive campaign, their best such run in the competition since doing so in four successive seasons between 1996 and 1999.
  • Only Lionel Messi (11) has had a direct hand in more goals in this season’s Champions League than Ajax’s Dusan Tadic (nine – six goals, three assists).
  • Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo has scored seven goals in his past four Champions League matches against Ajax, including a hat-trick for Real Madrid on his last visit in October 2012.
  • Only against Bayern Munich (nine) and his current side Juventus (10) has Cristiano Ronaldo scored more Champions League goals than he has against Ajax (seven).
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