Los Blancos, the winners of the last three Champions Leagues, were sent tumbling out as Ajax hit Santi Solari's men for four at the Bernabéu.
Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (3-5 agg.): match report
by Jonathan Meaney
The last time that Ajax beat Real Madrid at the Bernabéu was in 1995 after the Dutch side, made up of the likes of Patrick Kluivert, Jari Litmanen and Frank Rijkaard, had won the Champions League a few months prior in May.
And if Ajax’s current crop were looking to the 1995 champions for inspiration ahead of the second left of their last-16 tie against Real Madrid, they certainly found it, mercilessly thrashing Los Blancos 4-1 in front of their own stunned supporters at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Erik ten Hag’s side went into the game 2-1 down after the first leg but were full of confidence that they could turn over a Madrid side still bruised and battered after back-to-back defeats to Barcelona in the same stadium last week.
Ajax were ruthless and clinical in the counter attack, allowing Madrid to attack and biding their time to take their chances on the break. Former Southampton midfielder, Serbian Dusan Tadic was the man of the match, providing the final pass for Ajax’s first two early goals scored by Moroccan-born Hakim Ziyech (7’) and Brazilian David Neres (18’).
The Serbian dispossessed Toni Kroos, darted towards the box and squared it to Ziyech to finish off the first goal; while for the second, he pulled off a jaw-dropping roulette to take the ball around two defenders before setting up Neres, who expertly sent it passed Courtois from six yards.
After setting up the first two goals in the first half, Matic got himself on the scoreboard on the 62nd minute with a stunning strike from distance driven into the top left corner, sending the significant contingent of Ajax’s travelling fans further into ecstasy.
Madrid, now needing three goals, gave themselves a glimmer of hope eight minutes later, when Asensio, scorer in the previous leg in Amsterdam, drove a first-time shot from just inside the box into the bottom right corner.
But those hopes were firmly dashed just two minutes later by Lasse Schone, whose free-kick strike is a sure contender for goal of the tournament. From an acute-angled free kick set piece on the left, where a cross would have been more appropriate, the Danish midfielder Lasse somehow managed to curl the ball over Courtois and into the top right corner. Judging from his run up, he may have well intended to cross it. But if that is the case, one suspects it will be a secret he will keep to the grave.
And at that it was 4-1 to the visitors and 5-3 on aggregate with Los Blancos again needing three goals, and with just 20 minutes (plus stoppage time) to find them. Unfortunately for the Madrid crowd, who also had to watch Vinicius and Lucas Vazquez hobble off early in the first half, it did not happen, and Los Blancos were out of their third competition in the space of a week, after suffering their fourth consecutive home defeat.
Outstanding Ajax, meanwhile, march on to the quarterfinals after humiliating the titleholders in their own backyard, with star-man Matic likely signing Madrid coach Santiago Solari’s redundancy papers.
Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (3-5 agg.): highlights
95' Peep, peep, peep! The Ajax youngster's have pulled off the unthinkable. 4-1 at the Bernabéu and 5-3 on aggregate. They go through. And Madrid are out of their third competition in the space of a week. They also suffer their fourth consecutive home defeat, after Barca twice and Girona before that. Man of the match, with two assists and one cracking goal, Tadic has probably signed Solari's redundancy papers.
93' Well if things couldn't get any worse for Madrid, Nacho has just been sent off after picking up a second yellow.
90' Into injury time here. Five minutes to be played.
88' Madrid cruelly on their way to being knocked out of three competitions in the space of one week!
86' Ajax have nearly scored a fifth! This time an umarked Ziyech puts it over the bar from right in front of an open goal, when it would have been easier to score!
83' It's just not Madrid's night, and ultimately season for that matter. Benzema slips as he has a chance to score from point-blank range. Bale immediately latches onto the loose ball and can only hit it straight at Onana, again from close range.
79' If these Ajax fans were lively enough in Madrid's Plaza de Sol earlier, they're going to be much more vocal later, much to the chagrin of the locals.
72' Midfielder Schone has just scored a contender for the tournament goal of the season. From an acute-angled free kick set piece on the left, where a cross would have been more appropriate, he's managed to curl it into the top right corner. Courtois beaten for the fourth time, and it's 5-3 on aggregate. Madrid now need four goals in 15 minutes.
72' Goal Ajax!!!
71' Reguilón takes it around right back Mazraoui and feeds it to Asensio, just inside the box on the left. The Spaniard hits a low, first-time shot and guides it into the bottom right corner. Madrid won't give up!
70' Goal Madrid!!
67' Madrid on course to losing four home games in a row unless they can find 3 goals in 22 minutes.
65' After VAR constultation, the goal stands! Tadic has really schooled Madrid tonight. He has been phenomenal. He gets his name on the scoresheet, driving a shot from the centre just outside of the box right into the top left corner. De Beek with the assist.
63' Tadic has scored but the VAR has interrupted over the ball going out of play in the build-up. It looks like it's gonna be ruled out.
62' Goal Ajax!!!!
59' Chance Benzema! The Frenchman beats one defender inside the box on the left and tries to swerve it with the side of this right foot into the far corner from an acute angle by the six-yard box. But it's two yards wide.
58' Ajax again looking clinical on the break when the win the ball back. They move it up the field fast. But Tadic's touch lets him down and Madrid clear their lines.
57' Ajax have eleven men behind the ball in their own third as they try to keep Madrid out here.
53' Bale wins a corner on the left. Kroos whips it in, but it's headed away by the Ajax defence. Madrid quickly win it back. Reguilón puts in a cross from the left. This time Benzema is first to it, but it's easily saved by Onana.
51' Ajax have a chance on the counter! Tadic again involved. The Serbian tees up Van de Beek on the left but he blasts his shot to close to Courtois. Madrid looking vulnerable when they let Ajax to break.
48' The opening three minutes have been a Madrid onslaught! Asensio on the right, puts his strike over and wide of the right post, but it was an effort good enough to earn the subsequent groans and applaud of the crowd.
47' Bale, Benzema and Kross link up by the Ajax penalty area but eventually it's cleared bu the visitors. Madrid still applying pressure. Modric has a shot blocked.
46' Ajax get the second half underway.
"Ajax are assaulting Real Madrid in their own backyard" notes journalist Alex Shaw on Twitter about that first half. Let's see how this second 45 pans out
46' Madrid back out and things about to get back underway here. Ajax are taking a bit more time to emerge from the tunnel.
Madrid will be anxiously awaiting an update on the respective situations of Vinicius and Lucas, who both came off injured in the first half. Vinicius in particular looked it quite some pain.
Shots in the first half: Madrid with nine, four on taget; Ajax with five shots, and four on target! Possession: Madrid 55% - Ajax 45%
47' Peep! And that's the end of one of the most exciting first halves of football we've seen in in the Champions League this season. Madrid have their backs to wall. As it stands, their out. But you can never write them off.
46' Kroos swings in a corner on the right. Nacho jumps high but can only guide his header left and wide. One more minute of added time here.
42' Bale hits the post!! Beats a few Ajax defenders on the left and smashes his shot off the upright from 5 yards.
40' The two subs linking up: Bale almost puts Asensio through with an easy through ball. But the Spaniard's shot is blocked inside the box on the left.
35' Vinicius is off, and on comes Asensio. In the meantime Ajax have almost scored again.. twice! First a well-struck shot saved by an overstretched Courtois. The second a low cross from the left that is just too far ahead of the the unmarked Tadic to tuck in from four yards out. Madrid hang on!
32' A teary-eyed Vinicius looks like he won't be able to continue. More bad news for Madrid!
31' Vinicius latches onto a long pass in the centre of the park. He runs and drags to tracking Ajax defenders all the way towards the corner of the six yard area on the left, but smashes his shot into the side-netting. And now he's on the floor in quite some pain. He must have pulled something as he launched the shot.
29' Vazquez is coming off injured and on comes Gareth Bale, who himself was booed off when he was substituted against Barca last Saturday. If the Welshman ever had a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of Bernabeu crowd, tonight's the night.
26' To say the opening 25 minutes have been frantic would be an undestatement! Both have had chances, the difference being that Ajax have scored two of theirs.
23' Madrid respond quickly through Vinicius, who beats two and squares it back to Vazquez. The Spaniard hits it cleanly and it takes a great save from Onana to keep it out.
23' Ajax almost score again through Neres! Madrid, looking shambolic, continue to get caught out on the break. Tadic again plays Neres through, who is one on one with Courtois, but he chips wide!
18' The Dutch are quickly on the move after a shot from Varane ends in the hands of Onana. Tadic skillfully takes it around two defenders before feeding a through ball into the path of Neres. And the Brazilian slots it past Courtois with ease!
18' GOAL AJAX!!!
16' Kroos has a chance to shoot from the centre, just outside the box. But he's mis-hits it and it goes well wide.
12' Now Carvajal has given it away to Neres just by his own corner flag on the right. He recovers and puts it out for a goal kick after Neres tried to round him with a clever back heel. Madrid defence look a bit rattled here.
7' Ziyech, who scored in the first leg, scores again! Kroos gives away the ball on the left. Tadic picks it up, darts towards the box and squares it to Tadic, who tucks it past Courtois into the left corner. 2-2 on aggregate, but Madrid still with advantage because of the two away goals.
7' GOAL AJAX!!!
4' Madrid hit the crossbar!! Vazquez swings a cross in from the right. Benzema jumps, it's too high for him, but not for Varane. The Frenchman rattles the crossbar with a header from around eight yards out. Madrid controlling the opening five minutes.
4' Benzema has won a corner on the left after trying to get round two defenders.
3' Madrid trying to build something.... Modric chests the ball down in the box and tries to pass to Benzema but it's cleaned up the Ajax defence.
1' And the game is underway! We'll keep you posted with all the happenings.
Last time Ajax beat Madrid in the Champions League? Coincidentally, the same year they won the competition in 1995, with the aforementioned team below.
In case you needed reminding of Ajax's last Champions League winning team:Edwin van der Sar, Michael Reiziger, Danny Blind, Frank Rijkaard, Frank de Boer, Clarence Seedorf, Finidi George, Edgar Davids, Ronald de Boer, Jari Litmanen, Marc Overmars. Has there even been an Ajax side more full of household names? Just two foreigners made the 11, Finidi George (Nigeria) and Jari Litmanen (Finland). Showing my age here, but I remember bringing that side to unbeaten Eriedivise glory on Fifa 95. Or maybe it was 96? Still a long time ago now.
More fun from Madrid's Plaza de Sol earlier. Ajax fan absolutely nails this shot!....
"Real Madrid down to their last bullet. Three defeats in a row at Bernabéu, but fighting to save their season, a fourth tonight would be a disaster. Ajax unlucky in first leg and come here rested after not playing at weekend," says journalist Ben Howard on Twitter.
Ajax fans were getting in the mood at Madrid's Plaza de Sol earlier. The Dutch fans will no doubt add to an electric atmosphere tonight:
Some more head to heads: Current squad value: Real Madrid: €869m - Ajax: €369m ; Average Age: Madrid:26.1 - Ajax: 26 ; No. of foreigners: Madrid: 13 - Ajax 15 ; Top scorer: Benzema (Madrid): 20 goals - Tadic (Ajax): 25 goals.
The same day that these two meet at the Bernabeu, reports on Spanish radio have claimed that Ajax want to sign Real Madrid's Martin Ödegaard for just under 20 million euros. The 20-year-old Norweigan is currently on loan and impressing at Eredivisie sideVitesse Arnhem, where he has played 25 games this season, providing seven goals and six assists.
Of the last eight fixtures between these two in the CL, going back to 2010, Madrid have won all eight.
Ajax line out with the same 11 who started against Madrid in the Amsterdam Arena three weeks ago.
Ajax team news: Onana, De Lught, Van de Beek, Neres, Tadic, Mazraoui, Blind, Schone, De Jong, Ziyech, Tagliafico
The two changes to the side that lost to Barcelona on Saturday see Nacho come in for the suspended Sergio Ramos at the heart of the holders' defence, and Lucas Vázquez replace Gareth Bale in attack.
Real Madrid bench: Keylor Navas, Vallejo, Bale, Marcelo, Valverde, Asensio, Ceballos. All of which means that Isco is one of the three players culled from Santiago Solari's initial squad! Mariano Díaz and Luca Zidane are the other two who get the chop.
If you're looking to get yourself in front of a TV screen for tonight's last-16 second leg at the Bernabéu, you may wish to have a shufties at our useful guide on how and where to watch Real Madrid vs Ajax.
"Real Madrid have one bullet left... a cannonball": that was the take of AS editor Alfredo Relaño in his daily opinion article this morning, as he looked ahead to a Champions League second leg in which Los Blancos' final hope of winning major silverware this season is at stake.
Benzema scored a peach against Ajax in the first leg. He was in a rich vein of form back then but his goals have dried up since then. Should Real Madrid be concerned?
These Mourinho links just will not go away. He refuses to kill the speculation either.
Six players at Real Madrid who could see the door this summer. If they get knocked out tonight, that process will be sped up, I'm sure.
Some of the talent likely left out tonight for Real Madrid includes: Marcelo, Isco and Bale. Three players who, when fit, were vital to Real Madrid's last three Champions League wins and the fourth in 2013.
Hello and welcome to out build-up of the Real Madrid vs Ajax game at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday night at 21:00. Real Madrid hold a 2-1 lead (two away goals) but Ajax had the weekend off and will be raring to go for this one as they look to take advantage of Real Madrid's recent poor form.
Real Madrid vs Ajax: preview
Real Madrid host Ajax in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at the Santiago Bernabéu, where Los Blancos start the game with a 2-1 cushion from the first leg in Amsterdam.
After suffering two back-to-back Clásico losses, one of which saw them eliminated from the Copa del Rey and the other all but killing any hopes of a LaLiga title, Madrid will look to get back to winning ways in the only competition they can now realistically win. Coach Santiago Solari knows that anything less than leading Madrid to a fourth consecutive Champions League title will likely see him out of a job next summer.
Having claimed two valuable away goals in Amsterdam three weeks ago, Solari’s side have one foot in the quarter final but will be wary of a young Ajax team that are more than capable of creating an upset. Karim Benzema and substitute Marco Asensio scored Los Blancos two goals in the first leg, and the former will likely start up front in a trident completed by Lucas Vazquez and wonder boy of the hour, Vinicius, who created a piece of magic to set up the Frenchman’s opening goal at the Amsterdam Arena.
Ajax’s hopes of a stunning victory will partly rest on the shoulders of Barcelona-bound midfielder Frenkie De Jong, who admitted this week that Barca had asked him “to do my best in eliminating Madrid from the competition”. The 21-year-old has been compared to Barca legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta, two players who knew all about winning at the Bernabéu.
If De Jong is to do his new employers a favour and knock out the reigning champions, the young playmaker will firmly depend on help of Hakim Ziyech, scorer of Ajax’s lone goal in the first leg who has found the net on 17 occasions this season, and Serbian, Dusan Tadic, who has 25 goals to his name. Meanwhile central defenders Daly Blind and Matthijs de Ligt will be tasked with keeping Madrid from adding to their two-goal tally. For them, a clean sheet is practically imperative if the 1995 winners are to have any chance of progressing to the quarter finals.
Madrid will be without captain Sergio Ramos, who misses the game through suspension after picking up a yellow late on in the first leg, something which he controversially admitted to doing on purpose to ensure he was available for the next round. However his plan ultimately backfired when UEFA handed him a two-match ban for deliberately getting booked, meaning he will miss the first leg of the quarter final if Madrid go through.
Ramos will be a big loss against an Ajax team that will have no choice but to go all-out attack to find the at-least two goals they need to progress. Nacho will be the likely replacement for the Madrid captain in the centre of defence alongside Raphael Varane. Marco Llorente is the only injury concern for Solari.
Meanwhile Ajax coach Erik ten Hag will be without Vaclav Cerny, Lisandro Magallán, Hassane Bandé and Carel Eiting, but has his full strength eleven available to send out at the Bernabéu.