Erik Ten Hag promises Ajax fightback


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Ajax boss Erik ten Had is confident his team can cause a shock in the Champions League clash with Real Madrid, with Sergio Ramos missing for the Spanish giants.

The two sides will clash in the second leg of their last-16 contest, with the Spanish side holding a 2-1 advantage.

Madrid managed to leave Amsterdam with a lead but they will be without captain Ramos for the home leg on Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ramos picked up a yellow card at the end of the first meeting and is now suspended, although he was handed an additional European match ban after UEFA ruled he got booked deliberately.

Nacho Fernandez will likely take Ramos’ place and is set to partner Raphael Varane at the heart of Real’s defence. Although his team will be up against it, Ten Hag feels Ramos’ absence could be “huge” for the defending champions.

“It’s a huge blow for Real Madrid. (Luka) Modric and Toni Kroos are the bosses in the midfield but Ramos is a boss in defence and his absence from a physical and mental point of view will affect their team,” he told reporters.

“Obviously they want to win a trophy this season and this is their last chance. Only in the Champions League can they win something and that will change their attitude on the pitch.

“Our players will be ambitious and they will fight to stay in all the competitions.”

Madrid will be desperate for a victory after they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey in midweek by Barcelona, before again losing to their fierce rivals in the second El Clasico of the La Liga season on Saturday, a defeat which leaves them 12 points adrift of the leaders.

Santiago Solari’s men are 1.62 to win on Tuesday, the draw is 4.20 and Ajax are priced at 4.75.

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