Champions League: FK Rostov Ã¢â‚¬â€œ AFC Ajax
One of the most tightly-contested and dramatic fixtures of the Champions League qualifiers scheduled for this week will take place in Rostov as the home side will be hosting the famous Dutch team Ajax Amsterdam for the second leg of their tie. Ajax were the favourites of the opener but they only managed to produce a tricky 1:1 draw in the match. This result slightly favours the Russians for the rematch as any win or a goalless draw will secure them a spot in the Champions League group stage. Anything else will send Rostov to the Europa League group stage, which would still be a success for the Russians but they will do their hardest to win the Wednesday clash and earn their place among the finest European elite. Starting at 8:45 PM (CET), the game Rostov vs. Ajax will be played at the Olimp Stadium in Rostov.
Rostov might not be as famous as some other Russian sides such as CSKA Moscow or Zenit St. Petersburg but their recent results suggest this team do have their quality. Rostov claimed the runners-up spot in the highest Russian league last year and they have been doing quite well this season too. Rostov have been also successful with their current Champions League campaign Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they eliminated renowned Belgian side Anderlecht Brussels in the third qualifying round and clinched a promising 1:1 draw at Amsterdam in the opening leg of the fourth qualifying round. So far, two Intertoto Cup appearances and a Europa League qualifier were the best achievements the Russian team produced but they are certain to surpass these results this year as they are already guaranteed their spot in the Europa League group stage. However, KirichenkoÃ‚Â´s men are determined to fulfil their dreams and make it to the Champions League group stage.
The most successful and famous Dutch team ever, Ajax Amsterdam are 33-time Dutch champions, 18-time Dutch Cup winners, 4-time Champions League winners and one-time Europa League winners. Despite this glorious history, Ajax have not been that impressive in the past years though. Last year, for example, Amsterdam did not even make it the Champions League group stage after they got knocked out by Rapid Wien as early as in the third qualifying round. This year, Ajax have already passed this stage after they eliminated the Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki (1:1 and 2:1) but they still have their work cut out for them in the final qualifying round as they were held to a 1:1 draw in the first leg by FK Rostov. To make it to the group stage, Ajax will need to beat their rivals, which will be anything but an easy task, considering how motivated and determined the home team will be.
Last year, Ajax had to leave the EuropeÃ‚Â´s top tier league as early as in the qualifying stage and will surely do their best to avoid the failure this year. However, the Dutch team could not be satisfied with the performance and result they produced in the first leg of their series against FK Rostov as they only drew 1:1. In the second leg, it will be the Russians who will have the home advantage. After a superb showing they delivered in their last league match against Tomsk, Rostov are heading into the crucial game in high spirits. Will they have what it takes to beat Ajax and clinch their first-ever spot in the Champions League group stage? We will know by Wednesday night.
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