Trezeguet returns for Ajax clash

Trezeguet returns for Ajax clash

Published Feb. 17, 2010 8:24 p.m. ET

Juventus will be boosted by the return of French striker David Trezeguet for Thursday's Europa League round-of-32 first-leg tie away to Ajax.

Trezeguet has been out of action since January 6 with an ankle injury but has recovered in time to make the Juve squad for the game (kick-off 6pm GMT).

The Turin outfit have struggled for much of the season but go into the encounter in buoyant mood, with Alberto Zaccheroni having enjoyed his first win since replacing Ciro Ferrara last month.

Juventus prevailed 3-2 over Genoa at the weekend and climbed to sixth in Serie A, just one point behind Napoli, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot.

"We really needed that victory," said Juve defender Nicola Legrottaglie. "It was important to regain confidence in our potential and now we hope that against Ajax we can give the continuity that we have lacked up to now."

Juve were knocked out of the Champions League before the winter break while they were eliminated from the Coppa Italia last month.

Trailing Serie A leaders Inter Milan by 16 points in the standings, the Europa League represents the only realistic chance of finishing with silverware this season.

"You only need to look at the teams that are participating in the Europa League to realise what a prestigious competition this is," said Legrottaglie.

"Ajax is a very good team with a strong attack but we also have a very good side."

Ajax have faced Juve 10 times before at the Amsterdam ArenA. The Italians have had the upper hand, winning five times and losing only twice in Holland.

Ajax are upbeat going into the match as well after a 2-0 win at Heerenveen on Saturday. That success ended a three-match losing streak on the road for the Dutch team and left Ajax third in the Eredivisie standings, nine points behind league leaders PSV Eindhoven.

"It was a very important win for us," admitted Ajax coach Martin Jol. Midfielders Urby Emanuelson and Eyong Enoh missed the match at Heerenveen with hamstring problems but have been passed fit for Thursday's clash.

Ajax have lost just one game at home this season in the competition, a 3-1 defeat to Anderlecht in December. Juve will be without veteran defender Fabio Cannavaro and striker Vincenzo Iaquinta, both sidelined through injury. The tie concludes in Turin on February 25.