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Ajax ready to pounce on Dynamo

Urby Emanuelson feels victory against FC Dynamo Kyiv can tee up a "very nice season" for AFC Ajax, but 17-year-old goalkeeper Maxym Koval believes the visitors "simply want it more".

Urby Emanuelson holds off a challenge in Kyiv
Urby Emanuelson holds off a challenge in Kyiv ©Getty Images

A 1-1 draw against ten-man FC Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine last week has left AFC Ajax within reach of a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage, with winger Urby Emanuelson determined to make home advantage count on Wednesday.

An Oleh Gusev strike earned a share of the points for Dynamo, with Jan Vertonghen having headed Ajax into the lead within seconds of Denys Garmash's 56th-minute dismissal, but Emanuelson hopes that will only prove to be a minor setback. "We are at home so we have an advantage," said the 24-year-old. "The lads are saying, 'Let's win 2-0, and then the season can start!' Of course we would like that. If we beat Dynamo things should be good for us. We'll then be facing a very nice season."

Getting the better of the Ukrainian side will be no easy matter, though goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg believes his side can exploit the scoreline to their advantage. "Dynamo are a good team and it will be very difficult for us, but we have faith in our abilities," he said. "We prepared very well before the start of the season, and now we are in good physical shape. They have to come forward because they need a goal, so I'm sure we'll have more space and lots of chances to score."

However, aiming for a fifth straight group-stage appearance, Dynamo are in no mood to give up. Certaintly 17-year-old Maxym Koval – who made an impressive debut in the first leg – believes they have the hunger to prevail. "It's a pity we conceded an away goal, but we shouldn't worry too much about that," he said. "I have no doubt that we can win the return game. Our opponents cannot surprise us: they are a team we really can beat. Why? Because, I think we simply want it more."