FC Rostov vs Ajax – Champions League Preview

FC Rostov vs Ajax – Champions League Preview

The UEFA Champions League second leg tie Rostov vs Ajax Amsterdam is headed back to Russia, and after the first leg Rostov has a small advantage. The 1-1 tie in the first leg means that Rostov now have the all-important away goal, which according to a review of Netbet Casino makes them the favourite.

Ajax are therefore under pressure to either win the match, or to achieve a draw that is higher than 1-1. Indeed the result in the Netherlands plays well into Rostov’s hands, as the Russians prefer to play deep in their own defence while lurking for quick counter attacks.

The Dutch meanwhile are historically drawn towards playing possession-based football, and Ajax especially, not unlike Barcelona, which has after all drawn inspiration from the Ajax school, are known for playing a brand of football where they hold the majority of ball possession.

This will therefore be a tough ask for Ajax, as manager Peter Bosz will have to find solutions to crack Rostov’s tough defensive nut. Rostov’s manager Dmitri Kirichenko meanwhile will feel little pressure going into the second leg.

After all no one expected that Rostov would be able to challenge Ajax at all, given the fact that the club lost to Kurban Berdyev just days before the first leg. Berdyev masterminded Rostov’s surprise 2015-16 season, where the club came close to win the title in the Russian Football Premier League.

But following Rostov’s third round Champions League qualification success against RSC Anderlecht, Berdyev stepped down all off a sudden, citing Rostov’s on-going financial problems as unbearable to continue with his work.

It remains to be seen whether Kirichenko can successfully continue Berdyev’s work at Rostov. The strong result against Ajax would indicate that it is possible, but under the new manager Rostov also lost 3-2 against Zenit, after being up 2-0—something that would have been unthinkable under Berdyev.

Then on the weekend Rostov beat Tom Tomsk 3-0 in convincing fashion. This result in particular should provide Rostov with the necessary optimism that they can beat Ajax on Wednesday at the Olimp-2 Stadium in Rostov.

No one, however, will be disappointed if Kirichenko fails to lead the club to the group stage of the Champions League, but a success against Ajax would firmly establish the manager, who officially still carries the label of a caretaker manager, as Rostov’s man of the future.

Possible Line-ups

FC Rostov:

Formation: 3-5-2

Dzhanaev – Kudryashov, Novoseltsev, Navas – Ezatolahi, Erokhin, Noboa, Gatcan, Kalachev – Poloz, Bukharov

Manager: Dmitri Kirichenko

Ajax Amsterdam:

Formation: 4-3-3

Cilessen – Dijks, Riedewald, Sánchez, Veltman – Gudelj, Klaasen, Bazoer – Younes, Traoré, El Ghazi

Manager: Peter Bosz

By Manuel Veth –