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By The Atlas Lions, May 6 2019 11:00AM

By Mirror


EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham rivals Ajax's Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui won't eat or drink during daylight hours for four days in run-up to Champions League semi decider


Ajax stars Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui have told the club that they are going to fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.


But Dutch fitness guru Raymond Verheijen has warned the pair, who will not be consuming any food or liquids during daylight hours from Sunday, that they will suffer physically at a crucial stage of the season for Treble-chasing Ajax.


The Amsterdam side face Willem II in the Dutch Cup Final on Sunday, then host Tottenham on Wednesday night in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final they lead 1-0 and are ahead of PSV Eindhoven only on goal difference at the top of the Eredivisie with two games to go.


Verheijen said: “It would be irresponsible if Ziyech and Mazraoui stick to the fasting requirements of Ramadan at this stage of the season. Ajax’s situation is extreme - everyone is aware of that.


“The players’ bodies will be deregulated, as they will be changing a pattern of training and diet of the past 11 months.


“If you do this now, in the ultimate performance weeks of the season, it is like throwing a spanner in a wheel. Their blood sugar level will be lower - and that means less and less energy. Not only does that make athletes less alert, it will also send weaker signals to the muscles of the body.”


Ziyech played all but three minutes of last week's first leg in north London, while Mazraoui came on as a substitute just after the hour.


Verheijen added: “The sun sets on Wednesday night at 21.18 in local time and the second leg of the semi-final kicks off at 21.00. You can’t play without eating before the game. And what about if this match goes to extra time, with Tottenham leading 1-0?


“I expect the players to realise that this is almost impossible for them.”


Ajax coach Erik ten Hag refuses to ask any of his squad to put their fitness needs ahead of their religious beliefs. He said: “It is the choice of my players. I leave this entirely up to them."

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 12 2018 12:59PM

(Goal.com) The 31-year-old defender has been ruled out of Wednesday's Champions League game in Bern

Medhi Benatia will sit out Juventus' clash against Young Boys on Wednesday as he continues recovery from a knee injury, the Italian club confirmed.


The centre-back who has not played a game for the Bianconeri since November [vs. AC Milan] suffered an inflammation in his right knee during a training session on Monday.


As a result, the Morocco international did not travel with the rest of the squad to Switzerland and also missed the chance to make his second appearance in the Champions League this season.


Benatia has managed just 90 minutes of action in the tournament this term, his only appearance against the same opposition.


"Juve already began training for the fixture [vs. Young Boys], and this morning they worked on the tactical and technical aspects of the match," read the club statement.


"During the session, Medhi Benatia stopped because of an inflammation in his right knee."


Having qualified to the knockout round, Massimiliano Allegri's men, currently top of Group H, with two points above Manchester United need to avoid defeat at the Stade de Suisse to maintain their spot as group leaders.


Benatia has played six games in all competitions this season - a situation that has made him worried about his future at the Allianz Stadium with Barcelona and Marseille reportedly interested in his signing.


He was an unused substitute as Juventus extended their dominance at the summit of the Serie A log with a 1-0 victory over Inter Milan on Friday.



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