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Benfica will be happy that the away goals don’t count for extra or Ajax’s two goals scored in the first leg would make this a tougher match than expected. But, entering level at 2-2 will give manager Nelson Verissimo the belief that Benfica can walk into the Johan Crujiff Arena and come away with a victory.
They’ll need to create chances of their own and not be helped by Sebastian Haller’s own goals but given that Benfica had more shots and were able to equalize twice in the first leg, they’d be favorites if it wasn’t an away tie. With the Portuguese title out of reach, Benfica would love to advance to make this season a success but Erik ten Hag will have other plans.
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Ajax:Â Behind Dusan Tadic and Sebastian Haller, Ajax has a potent attack. Leave one of them unmarked and Antony can make you pay too as he has two goals in Champions League play. But defensively they’ve struggled since drawing away to Benfica. Not only did Ajax lose to Go Ahead Eagles in the Eredivisie but they’ve allowed two goals in three consecutive league matches. If those defensive struggles continue, Benfica will get a result.
Benfica:Â Roman Yarmechuck and Darwin Nunez are capable of making Ajax pay if defensive struggles continue. Since their draw in the last leg, Benfica also had a shock result drawing a home match to Vizela after Adel Taarabt received a red card only eight minutes in. They’ll want to put that result behind them while also looking to end their Champions League away day woes. Only winning one of their last 14 Champions League away matches, they’ll be up against the odds.
Behind the Champions League golden boot contender, Sebastian Haller, Ajax keeps their good form going and do just enough to win.Â Pick: Ajax 2, Benfica 1
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