Napoli are aiming to secure qualification to the round of 16 stage for the first time since 2019/20 season with a win against Ajax whom they beat 6-1 in the reverse fixture.
The Parthenopeans are placed at the top of their group standings by winning every single game so far while Ajax are in the Europa League spot with just three points in the bag from three matches.
NAP vs AJA Match Details
Date: Wednesday, 12 October 2022
Time: 17:45 (BST) / 22:15 (IST)
Venue: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples
NAP vs AJA Match Preview
When the final whistle blew at Amsterdam, Napoli knew they had not only inflicted the heaviest defeat on Ajax in their European competition history but also sent a statement of intent to other powerhouses in the Champions League this season on a historic night for the Italian club. Napoli trailed for the first time in this group with Mohammed Kudus putting Ajax into the lead inside 10 minutes but that is the first and last the opposition managed to show that night. Giacomo Raspadori equalised matters in the 18th minute and the visitors didn’t look back from there. Right-back Di Lorenzo rose high to head in the lead for Napoli before Piotr Zielinski gave more breathing space by making it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time. Raspadori got his second of the game shortly after the break before Kvaratskhelia and Giovanni Simeone put the game to bed. The Georgian world beater provided an assist in the 4-1 thrashing of Cremonese as well at the weekend in Serie A taking his tally to 10 goal contributions in 12 matches for Napoli in all competitions. The league leaders in Italy have adopted a flamboyant attacking style with their front four scoring more goals than ever by working cohesively and Zambo Anguissa proving to be the supporting cast from midfield. With the team also giving less at the other end of the pitch, Napoli has turned out to be a major threat not only in their domestic league but also in Europe. Leading the group with nine points by thrashing the likes of Liverpool 4-1, Rangers 3-0 and Ajax 6-1 Luciano Spalleti’s men are here to build something special and remarkable. They are no more a side depending upon certain individual brilliance to take them through rather working as a unit to put them on the verge of qualification to the knockout stages. A similar story of winning in Naples while facing Ajax for the second time in the group will make it happen for them. Napoli cannot be negative from here with the home fans expecting more firecrackers from the team on Wednesday.
Napoli’s unstoppable rate of scoring is a major headache for the Ajax team struggled to keep a clean sheet in the last five games in all competitions. The 6-1 humbling in the reverse fixture was the kind of loss the Eredivisie giants used to wreak on their opposition and tasting their own medicine in front of the home crowd by a team that no one predicted to be this good prior to the campaign after losing their best players in the transfer window caused more upsets than normal. Coach Alfred Schreuder’s tenure started on an upbeat as Ajax went on to win their first seven games of the season in all competitions scoring a massive 24 goals and conceding merely three. Then a 2-1 loss to Liverpool in the Champions League at Anfield started a chain of poor results with the once swashbuckling team plummeting. Ajax went without a win in the next three games followed including the heaviest defeat in the hands of Napoli which ended with a 4-2 win away at Volendam in the weekend. Those heavy losses in the Champions League have threatened their stay in the competition and with the trip to Naples and then Liverpool to welcome at Amsterdam, Ajax are looking vulnerable even by their lofty standards. The task for the former Club Brugge boss is to get the side back on track again and try to build momentum from their latest win in the league. Although keeping a side that has netted 35 goals in all competition and unbeaten in their home for nine consecutive Champions League games quiet will be a massive task for this Ajax team not able to stop letting in goals recently. However, the Dutch giants have not been defeated in their last four trips to Italy so that might help them adapt to the hostile atmosphere expected at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona keeping the game tighter than it was in the reverse fixture. If Ajax managed to sneak out a win to derail the locomotive that is Napoli it will put them back into the equation for the knockout stages and a great boost altogether.
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NAP vs AJA Team News
A big blow for Napoli comes in the form of Amir Rrahmani who is set to miss out the remainder of the month with a groin injury he picked up in the 4-1 win against Cremonese. The Albanian international was taken off in the 82nd minute after a coming together. In his absence, Norwegian Leo Ostigard will partner Min-Jae Kim at the back. The morale-boosting news for the side from Naples is Victor Osimhen has finally trained with the group after picking up a hamstring injury in the first Champions League group stage game this season last month. He is certain to begin from the bench as two other scoring forwards Giacomo Raspodori and Giovanni Simeone fight for a place to start up front.
For Ajax, they will not be having their captain Dusan Tadic on the field through suspension picking up a second yellow in the reverse fixture. Lucas Ocampos, on loan from Sevilla, has hardly got a run of games to prove himself but can come into this game from the start to replace the Serbian. Francisco Conceicao is another option manager Alfred Schreuder can think of. The rest of the team that started the defeat last week is expected to remain the same other than this change.
NAP vs AJA Predicted Lineups
NAP: Alex Meret; Di Lorenzo, Min-Jae Kim, Amir Rrahmani, Mario Rui; Zambo Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka; Mateo Politano, Piotr Zielinski, Kvacha Kvaratskhelia; Giacomo Raspadori
AJA: Remko Pasveer; Devyne Rensch, Jurlien Timber, Calvin Bassey, Daley Blind; Steven Berghuis, Edson Alvarez, Kenneth Taylor; Lucas Ocampos, Mohammed Kudus, Steven Bergwijn
NAP vs AJA Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Meret (8)
DEF: Di Lorenzo (8.5), Bassey (8.5), Kim (8), Rui (7.5)
MID: Zielinski (8.5), Anguissa (9), Alvarez (9), Bergwijn (8.5)
FW: Kudus (9), Kvaratskhelia (9)
Captain: Kvicha Kvaratskhelia
Vice-captain: Zambo Anguissa
Kvaratskhelia has scored 2 goals and delivered 1 assist in the group stage of the Champions League so far for Napoli. He has made 6 goal contributions in his last five games for club and country.
Zambo Anguissa delivered 2 assists in the 6-1 win over Ajax in the reverse fixture and has a hand in 2 more goals for Napoli in the Champions League.
Mohammed Kudus has scored in each of the last three games for Ajax and 7 in his last 8 games in all competitions.