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Anderlecht offer Ajax no quarter

Ariël Jacobs countered AFC Ajax coach Martin Jol's suggestion that RSC Anderlecht would play for a draw in Amsterdam tonight, insisting his side will be going out to win the game and Group A.

Action from Anderlecht's 1-1 draw against Ajax on Matchday 2
Action from Anderlecht's 1-1 draw against Ajax on Matchday 2 ©Getty Images

RSC Anderlecht coach Ariël Jacobs has countered the suggestion of opposite number Martin Jol that the Belgian outfit will play for a draw when the sides meet on Thursday, insisting his players will step out against AFC Ajax in UEFA Europa League Group A bidding "for a victory".

Draw sufficient
A point will be enough for Les Mauves to qualify for the round of 32 as runners-up behind their Dutch hosts regardless of whether NK Dinamo Zagreb, two points behind in third, defeat FC Timişoara. Jol, whose side have won their last three games in the section, made no secret of his thoughts on how he expects the visitors to approach the game, saying: "Anderlecht need a draw and I am expecting them to play for it."

'Defensive setup'
The teams' Matchday 2 meeting ended 1-1 and a similar result would mean Ajax top the group, thereby ensuring they are seeded in Friday's round of 32 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. "They will play the same way they did at home – very defensive," said Jol, who is unable to call upon Gabri and Thimothée Atouba because of injury, while prolific forward Luis Suárez is a doubt after missing training on Wednesday due to a knee complaint. "They have some good footballers, especially up front, and they can cause us problems."

'Important' fixture
Jacobs, however, is focused on achieving only one outcome – a win which would send his side through as group winners. "Against Dinamo Zagreb we knew exactly what to do; at home you have to go for three points," he said. "We are coming for a victory. You can say only after a game that you are happy with a draw. That depends on the situation. Every match is important for us – only the quality of the opposition varies."

Fond memories
Meanwhile, Anderlecht defender Jelle Van Damme is enjoying his return to the city having spent two years with Ajax earlier this decade, winning the Eredivisie in 2004. "It's nice to be back here in Amsterdam," said the 26-year-old. "The Dutch title was a pleasant memory, so was playing in the Champions League. Ajax are strong team and have been in good form these past few weeks. Suárez will probably not play but they have enough good players. They will not play with the handbrake on and I won't either."