Can Getafe hold on in Amsterdam?
Erik ten Hag’s Ajax have got an uphill battle to make it into the Europa League’s last 16 on Thursday evening, 2-0 down on aggregate to Getafe with their disappointment of missing out on progressing to the Champions League knockout stages still lingering. The confirmation that Hakim Ziyech will join Chelsea next season will put his performances under further scrutiny for the rest of the campaign however he has the ability to make it work in a positive way. Getafe failed to maintain their high-performance levels from the first leg in La Liga at the weekend, losing ground on the race for Champions League qualification in a 3-0 home loss to Sevilla.
Ajax have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight victories in European competition, showing they can avoid conceding a precious away goal here. It will not be easy for them to profit at the other end of the pitch however with Getafe being such a tough nut to crack, achieving a shutout in four of their seven matches in this Europa League campaign, four of those coming alongside a victory.
Jose Bordalas’ men have the joint-fourth best backline in the Spanish topflight and will be keen to put Sunday’s collapse behind them and progress to the last 16.
Deyverson and Kenedy supplied the killer blows at Coliseum Alfonso Perez to put La Liga’s fifth placed side in the ascendency over the Eredivisie league leaders and reigning champions. Despite this it was Mathias Olivera who grabbed the headlines with a brace of assists and an outstanding all-round performance.
The 22-year-old Uruguayan completed 30 passes in total and was a constant headache for the Dutch outfit in combination with Marc Cucurella down the left flank. The Barcelona loanee was influential in controlling that area of the park with four tackles and two dribbles, the precocious talent also had three shots, the joint most of any player on the pitch.
Getafe won the shot count nine to one without conceding one on target and the expected goals battle 1.04-0.11, demonstrating their authority on the game and defensive solidity.
ten Hag will galvanise the squad in preparation for this game, as with little competition in retaining the domestic title the Europa League is a huge opportunity for the 2016/17 finalists, before a potential mass exodus and rebuilding job is needed in the summer. Unsure whether they can pull off the aggregate comeback, hedge on them to win on the night.