Valencia v Ajax facts
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Valencia and Ajax were both victorious on matchday one, and a second win would put either in a strong position in Group H.
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Having both recorded victories in the opening round of UEFA Champions League games, Valencia and Ajax know that another win would put them in a strong position to progress from Group H.
• While Valencia kicked off with an unexpected 1-0 success away to Chelsea, Ajax – surprise semi-finalists in 2018/19 – were no less impressive, opening with a 3-0 win against LOSC Lille in Amsterdam.
• The sides' two past contests both finished 1-1, in the second group stage of the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League. Ajax looked set for three points when Zlatan Ibrahimović gave them an 88th-minute lead at Mestalla in November 2002, only for Miguel Ángel Angulo to level two minutes into added time.
• It was also all square in Amsterdam in March 2003, Petri Pasanen's 57th-minute equaliser for Ajax cancelling out a first-half Kily González penalty.
• Valencia finished first in the section with nine points, one place and one point better off than Ajax as both teams progressed to the quarter-finals. Both were eliminated by Milanese clubs in the last eight, Ajax losing to AC Milan and Internazionale beating Valencia.
• Rodrigo's 74th-minute goal gave Valencia three points at Chelsea in their first fixture, although they needed a late penalty miss from Ross Barkley to preserve that advantage.
• Fourth in the Spanish Liga in 2018/19, this is Valencia's 12th UEFA Champions League group stage campaign. Finalists in both 1999/2000 and 2000/01, they have not reached the last 16 since 2012/13.
• Twelve months ago Los Blanquinegros were also in Group H, finishing third behind Juventus and Manchester United – who they beat 2-1 at Mestalla on matchday six having earlier held out for a goalless draw at Old Trafford – to move into the UEFA Europa League. There they overcame Celtic (3-0 on aggregate), Krasnodar (3-2) and Villarreal (5-1) to reach the semi-finals, where they came up short against Arsenal, losing 3-1 in London and 4-2 at home.
• Valencia had won five successive home European matches before losing to Arsenal last season. They have won 12 of their last 16 continental fixtures at Mestalla, losing the other four.
• The Spanish side have lost four of their last seven home matches in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, and have managed three wins in eight at Mestalla (D1).
• Valencia are unbeaten at home against Dutch clubs (W4 D2), winning the last three such matches, most recently a 4-0 defeat of AZ Alkmaar in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg – the third time in a row they had scored four goals against Eredivisie visitors at Mestalla. The 2-1 first-leg loss at AZ in that tie is Valencia's sole defeat by Dutch opponents, home or away (W5 D6).
• Ajax kicked off Group H in style, goals from Quincy Promes, Edson Álvarez and Nicolás Tagliafico earning a comfortable win against LOSC at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
• Ajax went all the way from the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round to the semi-finals in 2018/19, losing on away goals to Tottenham in the last four after conceding six minutes into added time to go down 3-2 at home and bow out after a 3-3 aggregate draw.
• Erik ten Hag's team lost only two of their 18 European matches in 2018/19 (W10 D6), when they became the first side in European Cup history to reach the semi-finals having come through three qualifying rounds and the first Dutch club to get to the UEFA Champions League last four since PSV Eindhoven in 2004/05.
• Champions of the Netherlands for the 34th time in 2018/19 – their first league title since 2014 – Ajax also lifted the Dutch Cup to claim their eighth domestic double, and a first since 2002.
• They kicked off this season's UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, seeing off Greek side PAOK 5-4 on aggregate after a 2-2 away draw and a 3-2 home win secured by an 85th-minute Dušan Tadić penalty.
• A goalless draw at APOEL in the first leg of the play-offs ended Ajax's run of scoring in 14 successive European matches, but a 2-0 home win booked their group return. The draw in Cyprus stretched their unbeaten away run in Europe to 11 matches (W5 D6).
• Ajax's last visit to Spain proved memorable as they won 4-1 at Real Madrid in last season's round of 16 second leg, going through 5-3 on aggregate.
• That was Ajax's first victory in Spain since a 3-2 triumph at Atlético Madrid in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, ending a run of nine games without a win (D2 L7). The Amsterdammers have won only three of their last 16 games against Spanish opponents (D1 L12).
Links and trivia
• Having come through the ranks at De Treffers and NEC, making his senior debut at the latter in August 2010, Jasper Cillessen was an Ajax player between 2011 and 2016. He won three Eredivisie titles in Amsterdam before joining Barcelona.
• Have played in Spain:
Quincy Promes (Sevilla 2018/19)
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Real Madrid 2009)
Nicolás Tagliafico (Real Murcia 2012/13 (loan))
• André Onana came through the Barcelona academy but never made a first-team appearance before joining Ajax in 2015.
• Have played together:
Daniel Parejo & Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Real Madrid 2009)
• International team-mates:
Jasper Cillessen & Daley Blind, Joël Veltman, Quincy Promes, Donny van de Beek (Netherlands)
• Summer transfers
In: Jorge Sáenz (Tenerife), Manu Vallejo (Cádiz), Jasper Cillessen (Barcelona), Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal), Jason Remeseiro (Levante), Maxi Gómez (Celta Vigo), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Jaume Costa (Villarreal, loan), Thierry Correia (Sporting CP)
Out: Neto (Barcelona), Toni Lato (PSV, loan), Aymen Abdennour (Kayserispor), Jeison Murillo (Sampdoria), Santi Mina (Celta Vigo), Jorge Sáenz (Celta Vigo, loan), Nacho Gil (released), Fran Villalba (Birmingham City), Uroš Račić (Famalicão, loan), Jason Remeseiro (Getafe, loan)
• Rodrigo's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th.
• On Saturday Albert Celades earned his first Liga win in charge of Valencia thanks to a 1-0 success at previously unbeaten Athletic Club, Denis Cheryshev securing the points with his first Liga goal since January.
• Since matchday one, Valencia have also drawn 1-1 at home against Leganés on 22 September and 3-3 against Getafe, also at Mestalla, three days later.
• On 11 September Valencia replaced head coach Marcelino after just over two years at the helm, with former Spain Under-21 coach Celades taking charge. It is Celades's first senior managerial role.
• Valencia had picked up four points from their first three Liga fixtures of the season under Marcelino, getting their first victory with a 2-0 defeat of Mallorca on 1 September.
• Celades' first game as coach ended in a 5-2 loss at Barcelona on 14 September; that is their sole defeat in their last six games in all competitions (W3 D2).
• Maxi Gómez scored twice against Getafe; he now has three goals in six Liga appearances for Valencia.
• Kang-in Lee, 18, made his first start for Valencia against Getafe, marking the occasion by scoring the third goal.
• Carlos Soler has not played since 17 August due to an ankle injury while Cristiano Piccini (knee) has been out since 24 August.
• Kevin Gameiro and Geoffrey Kondogbia both came off against Getafe with adductor issues and missed Saturday's win at Athletic Club, while José Gayà (hamstring) has not played since going off injured against Leganés.
• Summer transfers
In: Răzvan Marin (Standard Liège), Lisandro Martínez (Defensa y Justicia), Kik Pierie (Heerenveen), Kjell Scherpen (Emmen), Quincy Promes (Sevilla), Bruno Varela (Benfica, loan), Edson Álvarez (Club América), Juan Castillo (Chelsea, loan)
Out: Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Maximilian Wöber (Sevilla), Daley Sinkgraven (Bayer Leverkusen), Kostas Lamprou (Vitesse), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Rasmus Kristensen (Salzburg), Lasse Schöne (Genoa), Kasper Dolberg (Nice), Dani de Wit (AZ Alkmaar), Lisandro Magallán (Alavés, loan)
• Joël Veltman's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th.
• Ajax are undefeated in all competitions so far this season (W10 D4) and beat Groningen 2-0 at home on Saturday. Their last loss came at home to Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg on 8 May.
• The Amsterdammers have scored 21 goals in their last seven matches in all competitions.
• Joint top scorer in the 2018/19 Eredivisie with 28 goals, Dušan Tadić has scored five in eight league games so far this season, and has eight in all competitions with a further eight assists.
• Quincy Promes hit a hat-trick in a 5-0 home win against Fortuna Sittard on 25 September and has five goals in his last four Ajax appearances, scoring in three in a row before drawing a blank at the weekend.
• Ajax picked up the Dutch Super Cup, the Johan Cruijff Trophy, on 27 July when they defeated last season's Eredivisie runners-up PSV Eindhoven 2-0 thanks to goals from Kasper Dolberg and Daley Blind.
• Donny van de Beek was out of action between the play-off second leg against APOEL on 28 August and a 1-1 draw at PSV on 22 September due to a hamstring injury.
• Noussair Mazraoui suffered a knee injury when playing for Morocco's Under-23 side against Mali U23s on 7 September; he returned to play 67 minutes against Groningen on Saturday.