Ajax started their Eredivisie title chase off in perfect style with a 3-1 win away to Sparta Rotterdam in their opening match the weekend before last. Peter Bosz’s men were, however, only able to take away a point last time out, drawing 2-2 to mid-table side Roda JC last Saturday. Unbeaten in seven consecutive matches, two of which were competitive, Ajax now host Russian side Rostov in the first match of their 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League campaign.
FC Rostov, who finished 2nd in the Russian Premier League last season, got themselves through to the UEFA Champions League playoff round thanks to their 4-2 aggregate win over Belgian side Anderlecht in the third qualifying round. Rostov come into this off the back of a 3-2 defeat in the league to Zenit, their first defeat since May.
One thing Ajax boss Peter Bosz will be hoping to improve upon this season is their performance in the Champions League. Ajax were knocked out in the third qualifying round against Rapid Wien in their 2015/2016 campaign, a clear disappointment for such veterans to European competition. For Rostov, however, this season represents the first time the side has competed in the Champions League, and only their 2nd time in European competition in the last sixteen years.
Ajax are the bookies’ favourites for this leg, with a better squad depth and home advantage giving them the edge, but the current odds on the “full time result” market are not too enticing. We see better value here in the “both teams to score” market. Ajax haven’t been consistent enough at the back as of yet, with both teams scoring in both of Ajax’s competitive matches so far this season. Meanwhile, Rostov have scored at least one goal in each of their last seven away fixtures, scoring two against Russian giants Zenit just last weekend.
Hence, both teams to score at 11/10 and Ajax to win 2-1 at 8/1 with bet365 are our choice bets for this match.
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Head To Head
This is Rostov's first competitive encounter with Dutch opponents.
Both teams have scored in both of Ajax's Eredivisie fixtures so far this season. Rostov have scored at least one goal in each of their last seven away fixtures.
Ajax come into this with no injuries or suspensions hindering player selection. Expect a full strength lineup similar to that played against Roda JC last Saturday.
Rostov also have no injuries coming into this match. 3-5-2 is the formation they played in their 3-2 defeat against Zenit last time out. Winger Dmitiri Poloz scored both goals.
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