Roma’s Bryan Cristante, top left, heads the ball during the Europa League first leg quarterfinal soccer match between Ajax and Roma at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
- Roma host Ajax on Thursday, April 15th with a spot in the Europa League semifinals on the line
- The Italians beat the Dutch giants 2-1 in the reverse fixture last week in Amsterdam
- Get the odds, preview, and best bet for this clash below
The Europa League quarterfinals proceed on Thursday, with eight sides continuing to fight for their spot in the last eight. In one of the more high-profile matches, Serie A outfit Roma welcomes Ajax to the Stadio Olimpico for a massive clash.
The hosts currently have the upper hand after bagging two goals in the away tie last week on Dutch soil. They initially went down after Davy Klaassen scored the opener just minutes before the halftime whistle, but Roma responded with two of their own in the second half.
This is the first time since 2003 the Italians are playing host to Ajax, with that last meeting 18 years ago resulting in a draw in the Champions League.
Roma vs Ajax Odds
|Matchup||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|Roma vs Ajax||ROM pk (+110) | AJX pk (-137)||ROM +180 | AJX +130 | DRAW +285||Ov 2.5 (-210) | Un 2.5 (+163)|
Odds as of April 13
Roma the Lone Italian Side Left in Europe
After the likes of Napoli, Lazio, Atalanta, and Juventus were all knocked out at the earlier stages of European competition, Roma is the only team left from Serie A in either the Champions League or Europa.
Their performance in Amsterdam was extremely impressive and they’ll be hopeful that a ticket to the last four is possible on Thursday. Ajax pressed hard in the first half and almost had a second goal early in the second period from the spot, but Roma keeper Pau Lopez made a tremendous save on Dusan Tadic.
Paolo Fonseca’s men took control not long after, bagging two in the next 30 minutes to leave Johan Cruyff Arena victorious. Roma currently sits in seventh spot in Italy and just a point off a top-six placing. Their form lately though couldn’t be better heading into the reverse tie, losing just twice in the last six competitive fixtures.
Roma has never made it this far in this competition after getting knocked out in the round of 16 last term by eventual winners, Sevilla. They have played terrific all season long, however, on home soil, going 4-1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Europa and 11-3-2 domestically.
#ASRoma #UEL pic.twitter.com/0OHLNVscni
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) April 13, 2021
In Roma’s European history, the Giallorossi have never failed to advance in a two-legged tie after taking the lead back home. Needless to say, there’s lots of confidence within the squad as they prepare for Thursday.
Watch out for Spaniard Borja Mayoral as well, who currently leads the competition with seven goals to his name. After coming on as a substitute last week, it would be no surprise to see him start in this one.
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Can Ajax Turn Around Poor Away Form?
Despite completely setting the Eredivisie on fire with 86 goals in just 28 games, Ajax has struggled immensely when playing away from Amsterdam in European play. It’s certainly not a good sign as they face an uphill battle on Thursday against the Italians.
The Dutch giants currently have a 5-2-8 record in the Europa League knockout stages on the road and with a Roma side who play fantastically on home soil, this is a daunting task at hand.
Ajax is dealing with their fair share of injuries as well. Daley Blind is set to miss this clash, while keeper Marteen Stekelenburg is doubtful. 19-year old attacker Brian Brobbey is expected to be sidelined as well.
⚪️🔴⚪️ Dušan Tadić = 25 assists for club and country this season
⚽️ Davy Klaassen@AFCAjax | #UEL pic.twitter.com/J4vqmOHldg
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) April 13, 2021
Klaassen and Tadic will be in the starting XI though and will be relied upon to provide some brilliance in the final third. The attacking duo leads the side with three goals apiece in this year’s Europa campaign. With Roma missing center-back Chris Smalling for the reverse fixture as well, Ajax will be looking to pounce on any mishaps at the back.
Roma vs Ajax Key UEL Stats
|9-1-1||Record in Europa||4-0-1|
|5.3||Shots on Target Per Match||7.8|
Roma Will Advance
Between Roma’s flawless form at the Stadio Olimpico and Ajax’s struggles on the road, it’s safe to go with the hosts on Thursday. The Dutch side also has too many key players out which is going to be tough to replace.
Expect Fonseca’s squad to progress to the Europa League quarterfinals.
Pick: Roma +180
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Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.