Ranking the teams most likely to be eliminated from the Champions League Round of 16

Champions League (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
Champions League (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Ajax, Sebastien Haller (Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Ajax, Sebastien Haller (Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

10. AFC Ajax

Ajax’s association with the Champions League is a fascinating story in and of itself. The Eredivisie leaders have always been dubbed the competition’s underdogs, but to be honest, they are the most consistent underdogs the league has ever seen.

Ajax’s Sebastien Haller scored two goals on opposite sides of the pitch to tie the game at 90 minutes in the last-16 match against Benfica. Ten Hag’s men, on the other hand, made it abundantly known that they were not the subservient ones from the start of the game.

Except for the moment when Roman Yaremchuk startled the red and white, they were completely successful in holding Benfica. The outcome, though, is lacklustre in comparison to the Dutch club’s strength, and while they are unlikely to be knocked out, Benfica may pull off a Tottenham, which is also quite improbable.

9. Juventus

Yes, Juventus are indeed just below Villarreal in terms of their chances of elimination due to the same factor noted earlier – Villarreal’s volatility. The Spanish side, it appears, is not easily sunk and has the ability to make Juventus struggle, ask Manchester United and Arsenal for examples.

Juventus, on the other hand, has been striving to stay afloat both domestically and in Europe, but the recent addition of Dusan Vlahovic has given the Old Lady some optimism. The teenager continues to demonstrate the value of the colossal 80 million euros Juventus paid for him.

There were no standouts in the match against Villarreal, as Vlahovic’s early goal provided enough of an excuse for Allegri to sit back and protect the advantage on a low block, which later proved to be erroneous as the hosts levelled.

The succession of Parejo equalising, in particular, was problematic because of Juve’s successive errors, even after embracing a defensive approach.

The most important thing Juventus can take away from this game is that they should not underestimate Villarreal since the chances of them moving through are nearly identical, if not more, regardless of who the favourite is.