Juventus - Ajax: team news and starting XIs
All the latest from both camps as Juventus prepare to host Ajax at the Allianz Stadium in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Juventus will continue their quest to land a first Champions League title since 1995-96 when the Old Lady welcomes Ajax to the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Cristiano Ronaldo was signed largely to guide Juve back to the summit of European football and the Portuguese has delivered in the knock-out stages, as he generally does. He scored a hat-trick to get Juve into the quarter-finals after Atlético’s 2-0 victory at the Metropolitano appeared to have ended the dream for another season, and he was on target again in the Johan Cruyff Arena where the first leg ended 1-1.
Juve’s second European Cup / Champions League success came precisely at the expense of Ajax, who were seeking to win a second consecutive title after beating Milan in the final a year earlier. The 1996 final also ended 1-1 and was decided on penalties, with Juve clinically hitting the target four times to claim victory after misses from Edgar Davids and Jan Silooy.
The same result in Turin will lead to the same end-game, but Juve will be hopeful of extending their unbeaten record against Ajax to 11 games and will look to Ronaldo to provide the coup de grace, the Portuguese having scored eight times in his last five games against the Dutch side.
Juventus team against Ajax
Starting XI: Szczesny; Sandro, Rugani, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Matuidi, Emre Can, Pjanic; Dybala, Ronaldo, Bernardeschi.
Ajax team against Juventus
Starting XI: Onana; Veltman, Mazraoui, De Ligt, Blind, Schöne, Van de Beek, Ziyech, De Jong, Tadic, Neres;
Juventus vs Ajax: injuries and suspensions
Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri may have a bit of a problem at the back if Daniele Rugani has not fully shaken off the effects of a muscle injury that saw him miss the defeat at SPAL. The Italy international is set to deputise for the injured Giorgio Chiellini in central defence while Juve will also be without Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado. Youth teamer Hans Nicolussi, 18, has been drafted in for his first taste of the Champions League.
For Ajax, all eyes will be on Frenkie de Jong, whose fitness remains Erik ten Hag’s primary source of concern. The midfielder has been included in the squad but it remains unclear if he will be fit enough to start, in which case 19-year-old Jurgen Ekkelenkamp will reprise his role from the opening leg when he replaced Lasse Schöne on 75 minutes despite having only 110 minutes of senior football under his belt. Argentina international Nicolás Tagliafico is suspended for the second leg.
Juventus vs Ajax: what the managers said
Massimiliano Allegri: “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 precise in our movements. If De Jong plays tomorrow night then we need to put pressure on him. But we need to win tomorrow and qualify for the next round regardless whether he plays or not
Erik ten Hag: At the beginning of the season, nobody expected us to be among the final eight of the Champions League, together with the giants. But the team has developed so much that we can hold our own against these clubs. We believe in that, and believe in a good result. That’s how we will meet Juve tomorrow.”