Ajax vs APOEL
Competition: UEFA Champions League
Date: 28 August 2019
Kick-off: 21:00 CET
I cannot remember when was the last time I got bored watching an Ajax game in the Champions League… I mean, before last week, when Ajax took “boring” to whole new stratospheric levels. Numbers say that the Amsterdam side were very active searching for at least one goal, they finished the game on 18 attempts, five of those on target, but truth is, their real chances were few, very-very few. They did have ball possession, close to 65%, but… it looked rather pointless. Given that they lost right-back Noussair Mazraoui in the 80th minute (second yellow card), and that APOEL hit the crossbar in one of their 11 – in total – attempts, things could have actually gone worse for Ajax. They drew 0-0, and it remains to be seen if they will be made to pay for their inability to score away from home in the first leg. No game for them last weekend.
Thomas Doll, APOEL’s German coach, told reporters soon after the final whistle last week that his team had not “stolen” that draw, they deserved it, and I would agree with him. The Cyprus champions played very cleverly, neutralizing Ajax’s best players, looking very well-prepared. Again, as Doll said, what APOEL lacked, maybe, was a bit more self-confidence in Ajax’s half of the field. It’s hard to imagine Ajax not scoring in Amsterdam, so APOEL will have to look more daring going forward, especially if they concede first and find themselves with their back against the wall, obliged to score. They found the back of the net in the second and third qualifying round earlier this summer, at Sutjeska and Qarabag, but obviously Ajax are at a whole different level. No game for them last weekend.
Previous five matches:
APOEL vs Ajax 0-0
Venlo vs Ajax 1-4
Ajax vs PAOK 3-2
Ajax vs Emmen 5-0
PAOK vs Ajax 2-2
APOEL vs Ajax 0-0
Qarabag vs APOEL 0-2
APOEL vs Qarabag 1-2
APOEL vs Sutjeska 3-0
Sutjeska vs APOEL 0-1
Ajax’s next game is at Sparta Rotterdam, on Sunday (Holland championship). Same day, APOEL are scheduled to visit Ethnikos Achna (the game may get postponed).
Ajax vs APOEL: Head to head Stats
Ajax have hosted APOEL once before, in 2014; back then, they beat them 4-0.
Ajax vs APOEL: Prediction
What a shock it would be if Ajax failed to beat APOEL…
Ajax vs APOEL: Betting Tips
Given that Ajax’s win pays less than 1.20, I would risk combining it with “over 3.5 goals”, at 2.17, counting on the hosts to take an early lead, opening the game up.