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Soccer Champions League

UEFA Champions League Preview: Ajax-Barcelona

Photo courtesy of Neymar Official Facebook Page

Barcelona will travel all the way to the Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands to take on Ajax in a match where they will look to secure their place in the next round.

After four matches, the team led by Gerardo Martino is sitting comfortably in the first position with 10 points, while the Dutch side are third with only four points in the same number of games.

There’s been much talk about the constant absence of Lionel Messi in Barcelona’s starting lineup, but the duo of Alexis Sanchez and Neymar have been able to replace him properly in recent weeks. The Brazilian star is opening the defenses, and the former Udinese has been on a hot streak in goal-scoring, so both could end up being difference-makers in this tough European encounter.

Ajax, on the other hand, likely won’t park the bus in front of their goal, but their defense could be key in this game. Headlined by goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer, Ajax has already received seven goals against them in only four contests, so they will need to step it up if they want to have a chance in Tuesday’s game.

Prediction: Ajax 1-3 Barcelona

Barcelona will most likely come out on top in this one as their individual quality might end up being too much to handle for Ajax’s back line. The presence of players like Iniesta, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas in midfield might suggest that Barcelona will dominate from start to finish on their way to a solid win.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google