Roma vs Ajax -- Preview
The UEFA Europa League quarterfinals will come to an end this midweek, with the remaining four second-leg ties set to take place on Thursday. One of the standout fixtures will see Roma and Ajax lock horns as the Italian heavyweights look to defend their lead and book their spot in the 2020/21 Europa League semifinals.
These two clubs will lock horns at the Stadio Olimpico at 3 p.m., as per the usual European kicks offs, with the Italians having one foot in the penultimate stage. Not only do the Giallorossi boast the home advantage, but the Serie A outfits are already ahead in the aggregate score, having beaten the Dutch outfit 2-1 in the first leg.
Lorenzo Pellegrini scored from a free kick to cancel out Davy Klaassen's opener, with Roger Ibañez netting the winning goal late on at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. That result brought an ended to Ten Hag's side's 10-match unbeaten run at home.
Roma, however, were not great in the first leg, with the final score masking over their performance. Regardless, Paulo Fonseca's side have cruised through the knockout stage, winning all five of the KO fixtures they've played, scoring 12 while conceding only three goals. The Italians have overcome the likes of Sporting Braga and Shakhtar Donetsk, with the goal now being to add Ajax to that list of victims.
The Europa League is crucial as it looks to be the only route into the UEFA Champions League for Roma. Due to their poor form, the club have dropped to seventh in their domestic league and trail fourth-placed Atalanta by seven points thanks to two defeats and one draw in their last four outings. Fortunately, Mkhitaryan and Co. head into this clash on the back of an important, but nervy 1-0 triumph over Bologna courtesy of a Borja Mayoral strike.
Ajax, on the other hand, have been excellent, with the 2-1 loss to Roma being the only stain on a near-perfect form. The Eredivisie outfit had gone 24 games without defeat prior to that first leg encounter, winning all but three of those fixtures. As a result, Ten Hag's side boast an 11-point lead at the top of the Eredivisie and boast a game in-hand, having lost only twice throughout their domestic season.
While Roma have been excellent at home this season, Ajax were witnesses to the Serie A side's defensive shortcomings. As a result, de Godenzonen should head into this encounter with belief, and should Tadic and Co. take their chances, they are more than capable of overturning the deficit and pulling off a comeback.
Roma: A muscle injury looks to keep Leonardo Spinazzola out of this tie while Bruno Peres misses due to suspension. Similarly, Chris Smalling and Stephan El Shaarawy are doubts while Marash Kumbulla and golden boy Nicolo Zaniolo are not expected to return this season. Mkhitaryan, however, looks to be back for this fixture. Whether the Armenian is fit enough to start is unlikely.
Ajax: Brian Brobbey joins Daley Blind and Maarten Stekelenburg on the sidelines, with the 19-year-old striker picking up a muscle injury. Haller will, once again, play no part in the Europa League as an embarrassing administrative error saw him omitted from their European squad. Devyne Rensch is suspended.
These two teams have met three times before and are tied with a win each in the head-to-head record.
In the last three occasions in which Ajax lost the first leg of a two-legged European knockout tie, the Dutch side ended up progressing twice (against FC Kobenhavn in the 2016/17 Europa League and Real Madrid in the 2018/19 Champions League).
Roma are yet to lose at home against a Dutch opponent (W1 D2).
Roma vs Ajax Broadcast Information
Stadium: Stadio Olimpico (Roma)
France: RMC Sport en direct, RMC Sport 1
Germany: Blue Sport, DAZN, SRF info, Nitro
Italy: Sky Sport 252, NOW TV, TV8, Sky Sport Uno, SKY Go Italia
Malaysia: beIN Sports Connect Malaysia
Netherlands: RTL 7
Nigeria: Canal+ Sport 2 Afrique, Startimes Sports Focus, StarTimes App
Portugal: Match Player, Sport TV LIVE, Sport TV2
Turkey: beIN CONNECT Turkey, beIN Sports 1 Turkey
United Kingdom: BT Sport 3, BT Sport App, BTSport.com
United States: TUDN App, Galavision, Univision NOW, fuboTV, TUDN.com, TUDN Radio, Paramount+