This was considered the most interesting duel of this 3rd qualifying round for the Champions League and so far it has lived up to the expectation.
On the 1st leg match, they drew, which gives an advantage to the Dutch side, but the match was balanced for the most part, so Nice still have a chance and shouldn’t be counted out.
Nice started the game well, with Lucien Favre putting together a nice defensive organization, similar to Mourinho’s Manchester United, waiting patiently for Ajax’s errors in order to counter attack.
Their goal occurred after an offensive midfield recovery, with Seri shooting through the Dutch defensive line and assisting Balotelli.
However, the 2nd half showed a more mature Ajax, capable of forcing Nice to lower their block, and creating some difficulties for the French to maintain their advantage.
Ajax’s goal resulted from a bad approach by Cardinale, the French goalkeeper, with van de Beek taking advantage of that.
For this 2nd leg in Amsterdam, Ajax’s advantage won’t allow them to relax. On one hand, because Nice has a team with more than enough individual skill to be capable of creating dangerous situations. Despite that, Belhanda, just like in the 1st leg, is still not available, as well as Balotelli, which can hurt the French’s attack-
On the other hand, because it is not in the nature of this Dutch team to adopt a quiet style, so I expect them to want to push for goals, in order to dilate their advantage.
Ajax vs Nice Pick:
Because of that, I expect a similar match, with Ajax pushing ahead again, and having more ball possession.
While Nice will try to be audacious on their counter-attacks, risking more and more as time goes on, and going aggressive when they try to recover the ball, maybe even on their opponents’ midfield.
This is a match that I see going all the way, with the decision reserved for the last 30 minutes. I think it is safe to assume that both teams will score here, in what we hope to be another 90 minutes of quality football.