Ajax seeking draw with Real Madrid

Ajax seeking draw with Real Madrid

AMSTERDAM - The Associated Press
Ajax seeking draw with Real Madrid

AFP photo

An under-strength Ajax looks set to play a Real Madrid reserve team in a crucial Champions League Group D match tonight, with a draw enough to secure Frank de Boer’s side a place in the knockout stage for the first time since 2005-2006.

Madrid is already assured of winning the group so coach Jose Mourinho is expected to leave many of his stars in Madrid or on the bench to rest ahead of the weekend “clasico” league clash with archrival Barcelona.

Spanish league leader Madrid won 3-0 at Sporting Gijon on Saturday with goals from Angel Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo to extend its current winning streak to 14 straight games in all competitions. It is seeking to become only the fifth team to win all six of its group matches in Champions League history, and the first since Barcelona in 2002-2003.

Ajax will again play with a heavily depleted attack. Striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson is recovering from an ankle injury, while his replacement, Siem de Jong (thigh) is also unfit.

Left winger Derk Boerrigter is out with a back injury and defender Toby Alderweireld had to leave training yesterday with a suspected hamstring injury. Forwards Miralem Sulejmani and Dmitry Bulykin are also injury worries, but both trained yesterday and could be fit.

Lyon knows all it can do to keep its hopes of qualification alive is win in Zagreb and score as many goals as possible.

“A difficult match awaits us on Wednesday. We’re going there to win. Madrid can also beat Ajax. Nothing’s impossible in football and we’ll give everything in that match,”