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 managed a 1-1 draw against Ajax last Tuesday in the first leg, despite having just 28% possession and registering only two attempts on goal. Christian Noboa put the Russians ahead in the 13th minute with a class free kick on his debut, but the visitors were very quiet thereafter.
Ajax will, of course, be disappointed not to have taken more away from the first leg. Ajax absolutely dominated, registering ten attempts on target. Credit must be given to Rostov’s goalkeeper Dzhanaev, who, ultimately, was unable to keep out Davy Klaassen’s penalty in the 38th minute. Boss Peter Bosz has shown his continued commitment to improve performances in the Champions League this season by resting key players in Ajax’s Eredivisie match over the weekend. Last Saturday’s disappointing 2-1 defeat against relegation contenders Willem II adds difficulty to an already challenging title race, with both PSV and Feyenoord having won all three so far, but at least we will be seeing a full strength Ajax team here.
Russian side Rostov, who are competing in the Champions League for the first time this season, are slight favourites against the veterans for a result after 90 minutes, likely based on home advantage. Looking over the available markets, however, the visitors seem incredible value considering how one-sided the first leg was. Admittedly, Ajax haven’t been too consistent at the back this season, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their competitive matches, but they have scored an average of two goals per game since their season commenced. Rostov will likely be a bit more confident on their home soil and for a side who have only failed to score once in their last twelve home matches, we expect they might be able to take a consolation away from this.
As such, Ajax to win at 19/10 and Ajax to win 2-1 at 10/1 with bet365 are our choice bets for this match.
Head To Head
The first and only meeting between the two sides was in last week's first leg match where they drew 1-1.
Both teams have scored in all seven of Ajax's last seven fixtures. Three of Rostov's last six home matches have ended in a draw.
Rostov have no injuries or suspensions coming into this match. 3-5-2 is the formation the Russians favour with striker Dmitri Poloz (2 goals in 3 appearances) and Aleksandr Bukharov leading the lines up front.
Ajax also come into this with no injuries or suspensions hindering player selection. Expect a full strength lineup after they rested players against Willem II in the Eredivisie ahead of this fixture.