18:45 GMT 26 July 2017
As European football gets ready to return for the 2017/18 season after a summer break, some of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League group stage places still need to be decided. With the third qualifying round coming this week, the biggest of the ties is between Ajax and Nice. Ajax finished second in the Eredivisie last season while Nice were one of Europe’s surprise packages and came third in Ligue 1 behind Monaco and PSG. Both sides have joined at this stage of qualifying.
This will be the very first meeting between the two sides and with it being a two-legged tie, both sides will be desperate to get off to a good start in the first leg. The last time Ajax faced a French team was last season as they knocked Lyon out at the semi-final stage of the Europa League. Nice won and drew against Lyon last season.
It is vital for Nice to take a good result into the second leg of this tie especially with them having the home advantage. They will need a strong team performance and with just Alassane Plea and Wylan Cyprien out through injury, they should have the quality to cover those empty positions in the squad.
Latest matches: OGC Nice
|16.07.2017||Club||SK Slavia Prague||OGC Nice||4:1||L|
|13.07.2017||Club||KAA Gent||OGC Nice||2:3||W|
|07.07.2017||Club||Servette Geneva FC||OGC Nice||1:3||W|
|01.07.2017||Club||FC Stade Nyonnais||OGC Nice||0:4||W|
Ajax will need to avoid defeat in this first leg to have the best chance of progression to the group stage. And they have a great chance of doing just that with a fully available squad for the clash.
Latest matches: Ajax Amsterdam
|18.07.2017||Club||Olympique Lyon||Ajax Amsterdam||2:0||L|
|24.05.2017||UEFA||Ajax Amsterdam||Manchester United||0:2||L|
|14.05.2017||Ered||Willem II Tilburg||Ajax Amsterdam||1:3||W|
|11.05.2017||UEFA||Olympique Lyon||Ajax Amsterdam||3:1||L|
|07.05.2017||Ered||Ajax Amsterdam||Go Ahead Eagles||4:0||W|
There’s no doubt that this will be a very close tie and both legs will be very tight affairs. However, the slight advantage must be given to Nice due to the home advantage of the first leg; no serious absences also contribute to the French side being favourites. However it is too close to choose a favourite for the tie as a whole, it should be Nice who will take a slight advantage into the second leg.
26 July 2017 - 18:45 GMT
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