AS Roma will be looking to secure a first Europa League semi-final berth since 1991 when Ajax visit the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening (8pm, UK time).
Paulo Fonseca’s men go into this showdown holding a 2-1 advantage following an impressive comeback in Amsterdam last week, subsequently leaving the 2017 finalists with a mountain to climb.
How to live stream Roma vs Ajax online:
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Where to watch Roma vs Ajax on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 3
- US: Galavision
Scoreline prediction: Roma 2-0 Ajax
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Roma vs Ajax build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
A first European semi-final appearance since 2018 beckons for Roma after they came from a goal behind to defeat Ajax last week. Fonseca’s men left the Dutch capital with a 1-2 victory, with goalkeeper Pau Lopez deserving plaudits after denying Dusan Tadic from the spot when he could have given the hosts a 2-0 lead. All of this means Roma are in the box seat as the Amsterdammers need to win by at least a two-goal margin.
At the Stadio Olimpico in this season’s Europa League, the Giallorossi have won four of their five outings, subsequently registering 14 goals whilst conceding just twice. Heading into Thursday’s showdown the Romans have suffered three losses — 1-2 vs Milan, 0-2 vs Napoli and 0-3 vs Spezia — across all of their 22 home matches in all competitions.
For the Eredivisie leaders, they will back themselves to mastermind a comeback, having famously overturned a 1-2 home loss to eliminate Real Madrid en route to a shocking Champions League semi final appearance two years ago. They’ve also been travelling well during this campaign and from 22 matches played on the road so far only Groningen (1-0), Atalanta (2-2), Liverpool (1-0), Willem II (1-1) and PSV (1-1) denied them a win.
- Roma (vs Bologna): Mirante; Mancini, Fazio, Ibanez; Reynolds, Villar, Diawara, Peres*; Perez, Pedro; Mayoral.
- Ajax (vs RKC Waalwijk): Scherpen; Rensch, Timber, Martinez, Tagliafico; Alvarez, Gravenberch; Antony, Klaassen, Tadic; Haller*.
Leonardo Spinazzola, Stephan El Shaarawy, Chris Smalling, Marash Kumbulla and Nicolo Zaniolo sit in the physio room, while Bruno Peres is suspended for the hosts. Maarten Stekelenburg, Daley Blind and Noussair Mazraoui are ruled out for the visitors whilst there’s doubts over the availability of Perr Schuurs. Sebastien Haller is also ineligible.
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Player to watch: Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
The first leg in Amsterdam was (pardon the cliché) a game of two halves. Ajax were on top before half-time but an early second half missed penalty saw momentum shift and Roma proved the doubters wrong by registering an impressive comeback win. Despite recent squad overhauls there are survivors from the Amsterdammers’ historic win at Real Madrid including skipper Dusan Tadic, who earned a rare ‘perfect 10’ score by L’Equipe for his performance, and he’s determined to make amends following that aforementioned failed spot-kick.
If there’s one Godenzonen the Romans will be keeping tabs on it’s the Serbia international, considering no one has created more chances (18) in the Europa League knockout phase than Ajax’s ‘false nine’. That being said, from those opportunities created only two have ended in a goal including Klaassen’s opener last Thursday, which illustrates the host’s biggest flaw. When it comes to shots on target (39) they rank first in the knockouts but only have 10 goals to show for it. More damning is the fact Ajax lead the way regarding big chances missed (16) with Tadic himself responsible for 25 per cent of those.
Europa League 2020/21 recent form:
- Roma: WWWWW
- Ajax: LWWWW
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