Ajax’s Brazilian forward David Neres (C) scores against Real Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (L) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 5, 2019.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Real Madrid’s reign in the Champions League ended in a disastrous fashion on Tuesday as a youthful Ajax side put in a brilliant performance to defeat the defending champions at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ajax started the game with greater desire than their struggling hosts and seven minutes letter they were rewarded with a fine goal by Hakim Ziyech.
The Dutch side who have not proceeded beyond the knock out stage of the Champions League turned the tie in their favour 11 minutes later when David Neres hit the target again and gave them a 3-2 aggregate lead. Real Madrid had won the first leg of the tie 2-1 in Amsterdam.
2 – Ajax are only the second team to eliminate Real Madrid from a European knockout tie having lost the first leg at home, after Odense Boldklub in the 1994-95 UEFA Cup. Shocker.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 5, 2019
Real Madrid came into the game trying to put the nightmare of back-to-back defeats against eternal rivals Barcelona behind, but their hopes of making something out a troubled season looked bleaker as the minutes sped by.
Without their all-time greatest scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane who guided them to a historic three consecutive Champions League titles as well as Captain Sergio Ramos’s absence through suspension, Santiago Solari’s men were bereft of ideas.
Injuries to Lucas Vasquez who started ahead of the out of sorts Gareth Bale and Vinicius Junior in the first half disrupted whatever plans Solari had and forced him to introduce Bale and Marco Asensio.
Their experience didn’t offer Madrid much and Ajax continued to pick the hosts’ defence apart in the second half with Dusan Tadic making it 3-0 in the 62nd minute.
Asensio looked to spark his side into life when he made it 3-1 in the 70th minute, but Ajax struck again only two minutes later and held on to put the game to bed at 4-1.