Connect with us


Ajax vs Benfica: Preview – Prediction, team news, line-ups

A pulsating 2-2 first-leg draw in Lisbon gives Ajax and Benfica all to play for in the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Johan Cruijff Arena.

Nelson Verissimo’s side hit back twice at home to maintain their hopes of reaching the competition’s quarter-finals for the first time since the 2005/06 season.

But they head to Amsterdam to take on the runaway Eredivisie champions as outsiders, although Ajax’s recent defensive faltering could inspire the visitors’ bid to stage an upset.

Starting with the first-leg draw in Portugal, Erik ten Hag’s men have conceded precisely twice in four of their last five outings across all competitions.

Despite their recent defensive struggle, Ajax are favoured to progress into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since bowing out in the 2018/19 semi-finals.

Match Preview


Ajax had a stroll in their Dutch-record 17th Champions League group stage appearance, finishing top of Group E with six wins out of six and a resounding +15 goal difference.

Ten Hag’s men have netted a staggering 22 goals this Champions League season, equalling their previous highest totals, with only Bayern Munich (30) scoring more than them so far.

However, the Lancers are winless in their last eight home matches in the Champions League knock-out phase (D4, L4) since defeating Borussia Dortmund 1-0 back in the 1995/96 quarter-finals.

Ajax can still draw confidence from their winning home streak against Portuguese visitors, having won their last four such fixtures in the Champions League, including a 4-2 beating of Sporting on Matchday 6.


Benfica have already ousted Ajax’s bitter domestic rivals PSV en route to setting up this tie, overcoming the Eindhoven outfit in the Champions League play-off round.

Their second-leg draw at the Philips Stadion made it one reverse in Benfica’s last seven European matches in the Netherlands (W1, D5), boosting their confidence ahead of this trip.

Additionally, the Eagles boast an impressive overall record in two-legged knock-out ties against Dutch opponents (W7, L3), including victories in the last five in a row.

Even though the Portuguese heavyweights have only lost twice across their last ten European fixtures outside Lisbon, six of the remaining eight games have ended level (W2).

Team News

Noussair Mazraoui and Brian Brobbey have yet to receive the green light for taking part in this encounter.

The record-breaking striker Sebastien Haller is ready to link up with Dusan Tadic in the front third after scoring 2+ goals in his last three appearances at the Johan Cruijff Arena.

As for Benfica, Rodrigo Pinho and Haris Seferovic may have to sit out this clash due to injuries, while Roman Yaremchuk, Nicolas Otamendi and Gilberto are set to return to the fold.

Ajax Potential Starting XI:

(4-2-3-1): André Onana; Nicolas Tagliafico, Jurrien Timber, Perr Schuurs, Daley Blind; Edson Alvarez, Davy Klaassen; Antony, Steven Berghuis, Dusan Tadic; Sebastien Haller.

Benfica Potential Starting XI:

(4-4-2): Odysseas Vlachodimos; Valentino Lazaro, Nicolas Otamendi, Jan Vertonghen, Alejandro Grimaldo; Rafa Silva, Adel Taarabt, Julian Weigl, Everton; Roman Yaremchuk, Darwin Nunez.

Ajax vs Benfica Prediction

Ajax’s flawless Champions League campaign was halted in Lisbon, but we expect Ten Hag’s high-flyers to make things right in front of the attending home crowd.

Haller and his comrades have been too hot to handle on home turf this season, while Benfica’s return of one clean sheet from seven away games does not sound promising.

We back Ajax to advance to the quarter-finals.

Ajax 3-1 Benfica

More in Ajax