Champions League

Ajax v Barcelona Odds : Dutch looking to shock injury hit Catalans in Champions League

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Ajax will look to keep their hopes of reaching the knock out stages of the Champions league alive when they welcome injury hit Barcelona to Amsterdam tonight (KO 19:45GMT).

The Dutch side currently sit 2nd in their domestic league following a 3-0 win over Heracles at the weekend, their second straight win.

Frank de Boer’s side are currently third in the table after picking up four points so far and depending on results elsewhere they could move second with a surprise win.

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De Boer will have Niklas Moisander back in the squad after he featured against Heracles however Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (ankle) and Siem de Jong (hamstring) are struggling to be fit after they missed out after picking up injuries on international duty.

Striker Bojan, who is on loan at Ajax from Barcelona, has not played since tearing his hamstring in September and won’t feature.

Barcelona meanwhile will head into the game minus a number of key men with Lionel Messi (thigh), goalkeeper Victor Valdes (calf), Dani Alves and long term absentees Jordi Alba (hamstring) and Jonathan dos Santos (knee) all out.

Isaac Cuenca is also out while Ibrahim Afellay is still struggling with a thigh injury.

To compound Barcelona’s woes in-form forward Alexis Sanchez misses out through suspension.

The Chilean has scored 11 goals in his last 12 games for club and country, including one in the 4-0 win over Grenada at the weekend but misses out after picking up three yellow cards in the group stages.

Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro were also on target in the win over Grenada, a result that saw the Catalan side maintain their place at the top of the Spanish league and extend their unbeaten run to 20 games in all competitions.

Jose Pinto made his first start of the season against Grenada and the keeper is set to continue in goal in the absence of Valdes.

The veteran, out of contract next summer, is looking to impress against Ajax, telling Barcelona TV, “I am really excited about it (covering for Valdes). I’m not looking at it as a chance to prove something – it’s something to enjoy”.

“I’m happy with a win and with the grain of sand I brought to the win. I know it’ll be tough to take over from Valdes, but I think I did okay. I dealt aright with the few things I had to do -playing gives you confidence”.

Adama Traore became the 8th youngest player to feature for the club after he made his debut at the weekend. The 17 year old is unlikely to feature in Amsterdam however.

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