Villa to face Dutch giants Ajax in ECL last 16

ajax aston villa europa conference league last 16

After sitting out the last round having topped our Europa Conference Group, we had the novel experience of waiting to see who would be drawn to face us in the last 16. As it happens, the draw has paired Villa against one of Europe’s most famous clubs; Ajax.

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With respect to the other sides in the competition, this fixture looks like the pick of the bunch with Villa riding high in the Premier League, set to face four-time European champions Ajax. The only previous meeting between the clubs was in 2008 as Villa secured a 2-1 win in the UEFA Cup group stage

The studious Villa fans will have noted that the Dutch side have struggled of late and were fortunate in getting past Norwegian side FK Bodø/Glimt 4-3 on aggregate. Most reports have stated that Ajax were far from the better team over two legs, requiring a 114th-minute goal to edge to the next round.

Our opponents haven’t had it all their own way in the Eredivisie either, even plummeting to the foot of the table after eight games before recovering back to fifth where they sit now. Whilst they’re back on track, the eye is certainly drawn to the fact they’ve conceded more than 41 goals.

Some other interesting points of note include the fact that Ajax lost 2-0 home and away to Brighton, which saw them drop out of the Europa League. Further, Jordan Henderson, fresh from his embarrassing U-turn from Saudi Arabia will likely reappear on British soil. Henderson has done little to impress since his arrival in Amsterdam, with Rafael Van Der Vaart even suggesting that the midfielder brought zero quality.

For supporters, this is a great tie. Nostalgia aside, it’s far from straightforward, but it’s the reason why you want to be involved and a part of European competition at any level.

Fixture Information:

First Leg: 7 March, 18:45 CET – Johan Cruyff Arena (Amsterdam)

Second Leg: 14 March, 21:00 CET – Villa Park (Birmingham)

Ticket Allocation

Estimated: 2600 (based on Brighton’s allocation in the Europa League this season).

Conference League last-16 matches:

Sturm Graz vs Lille

Dinamo Zagreb vs PAOK

Union SG vs Fenerbahce

Molde vs Club Brugge

Ajax vs Aston Villa

Sevette vs Viktoria Plzen

Maccabi Haifa vs Fiorentina

Olympiacos vs Maccabi Tel-Aviv

What next?

The winners of the eight ties advance to the quarter-finals, with the draw scheduled for Friday 15 March. The final is (as any Villa fan will suely know!) on the 29th May in Athens.

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