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Ajax vs Benfica Champions League round of 16 preview: Where to watch, predicted line-ups, squad changes | UEFA Champions League


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Ajax and Benfica meet in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg on Tuesday 15 March.

Where to watch Man. City vs Sporting on TV

Fans can find their local UEFA Champions League broadcast partner(s) here.

What happened in the first leg?

Highlights: Benfica 2-2 Ajax

Competition top scorer Sébastien Haller scored at both ends in a pulsating first leg. It was Haller’s strike partner Dušan Tadić who had broken the deadlock just eight minutes prior to the man of the moment turning into his own net. Haller tucked in to restore the visitors’ lead, but substitute Roman Yaremchuk headed in on the rebound to restore parity.

Predicted line-ups

Ajax: Onana; Rensch, Schuurs, Martínez, Blind; Edson Álvarez, Berghuis, Gravenberch; Antony, Haller, Tadić

Benfica: Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Weigl, Taarabt; Everton, Gonçalo Ramos, Rafa Silva, Darwin Núñez

Away goals rule abolished

There has been a rule change for 2021/22: ties level after the second leg will go to extra time and a penalty shoot-out if required, irrespective of the number of away goals a team has scored.

Form guide

Since first leg (all competitions, most recent first): WWWL
Where they stand: 1st in Eredivisie, Dutch Cup final

Since first leg
Where they stand: 3rd in Portuguese Liga, League Cup runners-up

Expert predictions

Derek Brookman, Ajax reporter
After conceding only five goals in 23 Eredivisie matches until February 27, the Dutch champions have let in two in each of their last two league games. In doing so, they lost to 11th-placed Go Ahead Eagles, and needed a last-minute Tadić penalty to defeat 15th-placed RKC. Ajax have frequently struggled against ‘lesser’ teams this season, but have generally been able to raise their game when the stakes are high – which they most certainly are when Benfica visit.

Every Benfica group stage goal

Every Benfica group stage goal

Carlos Machado, Benfica reporter
Benfica surprised many – perhaps even Ajax – by securing a 2-2 draw in the first leg to leave this tie in the balance. The Eagles capitalised well on spaces Ajax left at the back and they will look to do that again against opponents unlikely to change their style of play. However, the Dutch hopefuls were also given an insight into Benfica’s weaknesses – particularly the space between their lines and problems building from the back – and will surely press the visitors close to Odisseas Vlachodimos’s goal.

What the coaches say

Erik ten Hag, Ajax coach: “I have something of a double feeling [about the first leg]. It’s a good result but, on the other hand, we let it slip. We had two or three good chances that we didn’t convert.”

Nélson Veríssimo, Benfica coach: “I was satisfied with the performance, not the result. We managed to adapt in many moments to what the game asked for. We are sad about the result because we wanted to win, but everything is open for the second leg.”

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