Wednesday 3 May

Ajax vs Lyon Match Preview

03 May 2017 Stuart S. INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Knockout stage
INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Knockout stage

Ajax Amsterdam

  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

vs

Kick-off
16:45 GMT
03 May 2017

Olympique Lyon

  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Kick-off
16:45 GMT 03 May 2017

Lyon travel to the Dutch capital to face Ajax as they play for a place in the UEFA Europa League final. Ajax are the hosts for the first leg of this Europa League semi-final and the winner over both legs will face either Manchester United or Celta Vigo in the final. The idea of the final only being 2 games away should provide the motivation for both sets of players to play at the top of their games.

STATS

  • Ajax comfortably got themselves through to the semi-final after beating Schalke 5-4 on aggregate with the away goals rule to fall back on if Schalke were to score another. Ajax have won all 6 of their home European games this season and they’ll want to keep that up against the French side.
  • Lyon had to win on penalties to make it into the semi-final after their 2 legs finished 3-3 against Besiktas before winning 7-6 from spot-kicks. After coming 3rd in their Champions League group, they knocked out one of the tournament favourites in Roma in the last 16 and are now playing for a place in the final.
  • Kasper Dolberg is having a great season for such a young player and has been Ajax’s main source of goals in the Europa League this season with 4 goals. He’s marking himself out as one of Europe’s best young players.
  • Nabil Fekir has been brilliant for Lyon this season since they came into the Europa League and his 4 goals have given the French side a great chance of going all the way to lifting the trophy.

HEAD TO HEAD

The two sides have met on 4 occasions since 2000, all in the Champions League. Ajax won both encounters back in 2002/03 and the two games in 2011/12 ended goalless and with the teams being evenly-matched, it could easily happen again.

AJAX NEWS

Ajax will need to take a healthy lead into the second-leg in France and they haven’t had any problems this season with winning European games at home, which they will look to exploit. They only have a couple of notable absences as Nick Viergever and Joel Veltman both miss the first-leg through suspension but will be back for the second-leg next Thursday.

Latest matches: Ajax Amsterdam

23.04.2017 Ered PSV Eindhoven Ajax Amsterdam 1:0 L
20.04.2017 UEFA FC Schalke 04 Ajax Amsterdam 3:2 L
16.04.2017 Ered Ajax Amsterdam SC Heerenveen 5:1 W
13.04.2017 UEFA Ajax Amsterdam FC Schalke 04 2:0 W
08.04.2017 Ered NEC Nijmegen Ajax Amsterdam 1:5 W

LYON NEWS

Lyon will be desperate to get an away goal even if they are on the receiving end of a loss in the Netherlands but without their main marksman, Alexandre Lacazette (who looks a massive doubt ahead of the game), they might struggle. One of their other main attackersw will also miss the game as Memphis Depay isn’t registered, which may be a loss that they haven’t had to worry about in the league.

Latest matches: Olympique Lyon

28.04.2017 Ligu SCO Angers Olympique Lyon 1:2 W
23.04.2017 Ligu Olympique Lyon AS Monaco 1:2 L
20.04.2017 UEFA Besiktas JK Olympique Lyon 8:8 D
13.04.2017 UEFA Olympique Lyon Besiktas JK 2:1 W
08.04.2017 Ligu Olympique Lyon FC Lorient 1:4 L

SUMMARY

Based on both sides being extremely even heading into the tie, it looks very much like it will end in stalemate. An away goal for Lyon could be absolutely vital for the outcome of the tie but without one, they will be up against it in the second-leg. Keeping a clean sheet will be important for Ajax but they have struggled defensively this season so their fans certainly won’t be banking on it. It has every aspect to be a great semi-final.

About the author - Stuart S.

An English freelance sports writer, Stuart has written the Arsenal blog A Cultured Left Foot since 2006, as well as numerous betting previews and articles.

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