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Benfica vs Ajax betting tips: Champions League preview, predictions and odds


Ajax have conceded just ten goals in 32 matches in all competitions this season. The Dutch side have also won three of four knockout ties against Portuguese clubs, including wins over Benfica in 1969 and 1972.

Ajax to win and both teams to score NO is 12/5.

Sébastien Haller became only the second player in Champions League history to score double figures in a single group stage. He is 4/1 to break the deadlock and 11/10 to add to his tally.

Match preview

Two of Europe’s biggest and most successful clubs go head-to-head for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Ajax have won 64 domestic trophies, as well as four European Cups, most recently winning this competition in 1995.

Benfica have 81 Portuguese trophies to their name but, since lifting a second European Cup in 1962, they’ve lost all eight European finals, possibly due to Guttmann’s curse.

Most would agree that Ajax come into this one as favourites after they became the first Dutch side to win all six Champions League group games.

Erik ten Hag’s side scored 20 goals in total, notably beating Sporting CP 5-1 in Lisbon and then Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in Amsterdam.

So, after reaching the 2017 Europa League Final and the Champions League semi-finals two years later, they’re eyeing another memorable run.

On Saturday, Jurriën Timber’s late winner saw them beat Willem II 1-0 away from home.

This means Ajax have won seven successive Eredivisie games and are five points clear of PSV Eindhoven, having conceded just five domestic goals all season.

Benfica’s Champions League campaign began way back on 4 August, overcoming Spartak Moskva and then the aforementioned PSV in qualifiers.

Then, as Águias caused a big upset by snatching second spot in Group E, at Barcelona’s expense, thanks largely to a dominant 3-0 home win over the Catalans.

So, Benfica are back in the round of 16 for the first time since 2017, last going further a year early when they beat Zenit at this juncture.

Despite this, it’s been a season of turmoil domestically; Jorge Jesus was sacked in December and Nélson Veríssimo remains in caretaker charge.

That’s because they’re currently third in the Primeira Liga, 12 points behind the leaders, only drawing 2-2 with Boavista on Friday.

They’ve also been dumped out the Taça de Portugal by Porto and were then beaten in last month’s Taça da Liga Final by city rivals Sporting.

Given all of this, Ajax will fancy their chances of leaving Estádio da Luz with a first leg advantage.

Benfica team news

Nélson Veríssimo’s squad is slightly short of strikers at the moment with Haris Seferovic and Rodrigo Pinho both injured.

Also, whilst no one is suspended, a whopping six players are one yellow card away from missing the trip to Amsterdam.

They are: Nicolás Otamendi, Gilberto, Álex Grimaldo, Julian Weigl, João Mário and Rafa Silva, the majority of which are guaranteed starters.

The good news is that Roman Yaremchuk should be fit enough to start up top, having played 32 minutes in the victory over Santa Clara 11 days ago.

He’s likely to partner their superstar Darwin Núñez who’s scored 23 goals this season, including two in the 3-0 home victory over Barcelona.

34 year old Jan Vertonghen, who made 220 appearances for Ajax, winning four trophies, will face the side he joined as a 16 year old in 2003.

Ajax team news

The only noteworthy player Ajax make the trip to Lisbon without is Brian Brobbey.

He rejoined the club from RB Leipzig on loan in January, but has subsequently suffered a Medial Collateral Ligament Knee injury

Defensive midfielder Edson Álvarez and weekend goalscorer Jurriën Timber, who starts at centre-back, are walking the yellow card tightrope.

André Onana will start in goal, in place of Remko Pasveer, despite having made just two appearances this season due to a drugs ban and then the AFCON.

At the other end of the pitch is the frightening front three of Antony, captain Dušan Tadić and the Champions League’s top scorer Sébastien Haller.

Those three have scored 48 goals between them this season and will fancy their chances of adding to that tally at Estádio da Luz.

Primeira Liga table:

Eredivisie table:


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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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