Ajax are set to host Besiktas for a Champions League group phase showdown at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Tuesday evening (17:45 UK time).
Erik ten Hag’s men are enjoying an irresistible run of form having registered 29 goals across their previous six matches in all competitions — including a 1-5 success at Sporting on matchday one — while their visitors, looking for a first European Cup win this season, come into this week’s game missing a slew of first-team players including summer recruit Miralem Pjanic.
How to live stream Ajax vs Besiktas online:
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Where to watch Ajax vs Besiktas on TV:
- UK: BT Sport ESPN
- US: Paramount+
Scoreline prediction: Ajax 2-0 Besiktas
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Ajax vs Besiktas build-up & previous line-ups:
Despite their relentless domestic form not many expected Ajax to breeze past Sporting in their backyard. Erik ten Hag’s men visited the Portuguese champions and ran out 1-5 winners. A game that saw Sébastien Haller on his Champions League debut register four goals, something that has only been done once before (Marco van Basten against Göteborg in 1992). This result subsequently ended The Lions impressive 22-match unbeaten home streak in all competitions as well as putting the Amsterdammers head of Group C heading into matchday two. However, their recent European Cup form at the Johan Cruijff Arena is poor, across five previous outings they’ve suffered four defeats each being a 0-1 loss (against Chelsea, Valencia, Liverpool and Atalanta).
After four seasons away Besiktas are back playing Champions League football. Last time out in Uefa’s premier club tournament Kara Kartallar reached the knockout stages but following their opening round encounter with Borussia Dortmund it’s going to be an uphill battle for Sergen Yalçın’s men. Besiktas fell to a 1-2 defeat — Javi Montero scoring a 94th minute consolation goal — but were thoroughly second best throughout. But there’s some historical comfort for the Turkish outfit. Despite losing 11 of their first 13 away Champions League games they’ve only suffered two defeats in their last nine games on the road, picking up five wins in the process. That being said, Ajax have won all four of their previous meetings with Besiktas in European competition.
- Ajax (vs Groningen): Pasveer; Mazraoui, Timber, Martínez, Blind; Gravenberch, Álvarez; Antony, Berghuis, Tadic; Haller.
- Besiktas (vs Altay SK): Günok; N’Sakala, Hutchinson, Saatci, Yilmaz; Souza; Töre, Pjanic, Özyakup, Ucan; Karaman.
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Player to watch: Antony (Ajax)
The decision to name Sébastien Haller as ‘player of the match’ against Sporting made logical sense. He did everything asked of him and netting four times in a single Champions League is quite rare. In fact this is already the joint-most by a player across his first two games in the competition, alongside the aforementioned Van Basten, Diego Simeone, Didier Drogba and Erling Haaland (four each). However, the 27-year-old striker made a point to acknowledge the performance of teammate Antony, who created two goals in their 1-5 success. Aside from his creative output — which included a spectacular outside of the foot cross for Haller’s hat-trick goal — the Brazilian winger ran SCP left-back Rúben Vinagre ragged all night long. Antony comes into this fixture having earned a first international call-up, which has naturally put a new spring in his step, and that only spells bad news for a Besiktas side hampered with injuries.
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