It’s semi-final day in the Dutch Cup, with Ajax playing host to AZ Alkmaar as both sides look to secure some silverware this season.
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AZ Alkmaar arguably have more pressure ahead of the kick off.
Gertjan Verbeek’s outfit, after finishing the league in 4th spot last season, have slipped back dramatically this term with The Cheese Farmers presently way out of the Eredivisie title race picture sitting in lowly 13th-place in the 18-team division.
Accordingly the KNVB Beker trophy is the last chance AZ have of ending the season with a trophy, so one can expect the visitors at the Amsterdam ArenA to leave it all out on the field as they head into their biggest game of the season.
AZ enter the match after a poor run of four games, including three defeats, without a win. Yet, on paper, Alkmaar still retain a squad capable of producing an upset at Ajax.
American striker Jozy Altidore is having a superb individual campaign with 16 goals in 23 league matches, while 19-year-old midfielder Adam Maher is one of the most sought-after talents currently on the continent.
As for the hosts, Ajax will fully be expecting to turn over AZ as the Amsterdammers chase a league and cup double this season.
Frank de Boer has axed Barcelona loanee Isaac Cuenca from his matchday squad on Wednesday, however the hosts retain a strong-looking squad for the match. Ajax’s squad is as follows:
Kenneth Vermeer, Jasper Cillessen, Ricardo van Rhijn, Joel Veltman, Toby Alderweireld, Niklas Moisander, Daley Blind, Mitchell Dijks, Christian Poulsen, Lasse Schöne, Christian Eriksen, Siem de Jong, Thulani Serero, Jody Lukoki, Danny Hoesen, Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, Derk Boerrigter & Viktor Fischer.
For the record, the last five meeting between the sides have recorded results of one win apiece for Ajax and AZ plus another three draws.