• Analysis

Match Preview: Valencia CF vs AFC Ajax

Mestalla, Valencia CF
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If you are not either Bara or Inter fan and don’t fancy following the Camp Nou clash on Wednesday evening, here is an alternative game you could watch – Valencia vs Ajax.

Last season’s semi-finalists AFC Ajax travel to Valencia for the Group H second round encounter with the Spanish side.

The Jews continued from where they stopped at the end of the 2018-19 campaign, having suffered only one defeat since mid-March across all competitions – in the semi-finals second leg against Tottenham.

Their trip to Spain comes after two consecutive home wins in the Dutch League, where they sit on top of the table with 20 points from eight games.

Ajax started their 2019-20 UEFA Champions League campaign from the third qualifying round, as they defeated PAOK and APOEL on the way to the group stage. They opened the season with an easy 3-0 win vs Lille two weeks ago.

Valencia also started their European campaign with a win, beating Chelsea with a narrow 1-0 win at the Stamford Bridge stadium.

Los Ches will welcome Ajax on the back of an away 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao, which came after two successive draws against Getafe and Leganes at home.

Team news

New Valencia boss Albert Celades won’t be able to select Jose Gaya and Geoffrey Kondogbia for the clash agast the Dutch champions, as they are both recovering from a hamstring injury.

Carlos Soler, Cristiano Piccini and Kevin Gameiro are also unlikely to feature for the hosts, while Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay is a big doubt.

Mazraoui and Van de Beek both missed the opening match against Lille are set for their Champions League debuts in the 2019-20 campaign.

Hakim Ziyech is also back for Erik ten Hag’s side, who has returned in style, providing an assist in the 2-0 win vs Groningen over the weekend.

Stats

Ajax and Valencia faced each other in the group stage of the 2002-03 UEFA Champions League, with both of their meetings finishing in a 1-1 draw.

Valencia finished first in the section with nine points, one place and one point better off than Ajax as both teams progressed to the quarter-finals. Both were eliminated by Milanese clubs (Inter and AC Milan) in the last eight.

Los Ches had won five successive home European matches before losing to Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals last season. They have won 12 of their last 16 continental fixtures at Mestalla, losing the other four.

Ajax lost only two of their 18 European matches in 2018-19 (W10 D6), when they became the first side in European Cup history to reach the semi-finals having come through three qualifying round.

The Jews are let to lose in the 2019-20 campaign, as they’ve registered 10 wins and four draws in 14 games across all competitions.

Their ast visit to Spain proved memorable as they won 4-1 at Real Madrid in last season’s Round of 16 second leg, going through 5-3 on aggregate.

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