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Ajax hold the upper hand ahead of UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg clash with Benfica

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Ajax will look to finish the job when they face Benfica at the Johan Cruyff Arena in the Champions League last-16 second leg.

Early goals from Dusan Tadic and Sebastian Haller last time out appeared to put Erik ten Hag’s side in the box seat.

But a dramatic late strike from Ukrainian international Roman Yaremchuk ensured parity, after a mix up between Haller had Ajax keeper Remko Pasveer gave the Lisbon outfit their first goal.

The Last Chance

The names of these famous sides are intertwined in the history of the Champions League and its precursor, the European Cup.

And with speculation mounting that this will be Ten Hag’s last for the Dutch champions, he will want to write his own piece of history and finish on a high.

Manchester United seems the most likely destination this summer. But until then, Ten Hag is keen to bat away questions regarding his options.

“At the moment, I am only working with Ajax and have no further thoughts on the future,' Ten Hag, 52, said, as quoted by Trouw.

“The focus is on this season. Right now I shouldn't be the theme. The theme is: how are we going to win games?”

Comeback kid

The red hot form of striker Haller has been a big factor in Ajax’s success this season. He’s scored seven times in the Champions League already and has 32 goals in all competitions.

He’s a player reborn following a dismal spell in the Premier League with West Ham.

“I don’t want to blame David (Moyes),” Haller told The Guardian recently.

“Sometimes a style of play doesn’t suit a player and I wasn’t the striker he needed. And I also wasn’t his signing.

“I had to think for a long time if I should do it (move to the Eredivisie).

“In the end I wanted to enjoy football. I thought: ‘Why am I thinking what other people think?’

“They want to comment on everything they see, even if they don’t know about the situation.

"This is not their life, it’s my life. You can say: ‘Look at me, I play for a Premier League club, though I’m always on the bench.’

“But at Ajax I can score goals, play for trophies, play in the Champions League, enjoy football. It was a simple decision in the end, a no-brainer.

"So I went to David Moyes and said: ‘I am asking you if you can let me go and not block a move. I want my confidence back.’ Luckily he and the club agreed.”

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