Ajax and Nice go head to head this evening in their Champions League Third Qualifying Round Second Leg encounter and after the outcome last week it has left this particular tie very evenly poised. A 1-1 draw at The Allianz Rivera last week means it is all to play for in Amsterdam tonight.
Nice will probably be asking themselves how they didn’t come away from that opening leg in front after dominating large portions of the game, who else but Mario Balotelli put them ahead just after the half hour but Yoan Cardinale would have had a night to forget after gifting Ajax their equaliser.
The Dutch outfit would find themselves level somewhat against the run of the play just minutes after the restart when Cardinale decided to punch the ball out after a speculative cross, unfortunately for the the French shotstopper the ball only fell as far as Joey van der Berg who neatly slotted the ball home from the edge of the area.
Not only was it a gift of a goal for Ajax but it also gave the Dutch outfit the crucial away goal going into Tonight’s return match up, one that arguably gives them the advantage as both sides look to progress to the Play-off round of the competition.
Nice will look to Mario Balotelli’s firepower in a bid to see them advance and the Italian will hope that teammate Jean Seri can once again provide the service, it was his surging run in the first leg which left the Ajax defence standing leaving the Ivorian the simple of job of placing the ball in the box to be nodded home.
Arsenal fans will arguably have a vested interest in this game as they have been repeatedly linked with Seri and should Nice crash out tonight then their chances of landing his signature will have improved considerably, on the other hand should they progress then they may well have to wait at least a couple of weeks.
A 0-0 draw would see Ajax progress on away goals but I think there will be goals in this game, although the hosts have that away goal in their locker Nice were certainly the better team last Wednesday so this could go either way. I would not be surprised if this was also 1-1 and then we have to undertake the prospect of Extra Time and Penalties. I think it will be the French side that progress which will not be good news for Arsenal fans.