Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Ajax inflict European humiliation on Real

06 Mar 2019, 09:20 ( 17 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior (R) vies with Ajax's Noussair Mazraoui during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Ajax in Madrid, Spain, on March 5, 2019. (Xinhua/Edward F. Peters).

Real Madrid ended what is perhaps the most disastrous week in the club's history as they were dumped out of the Champions League after a 4-1 home defeat to Ajax.
   
The defeat, their heaviest ever at home in the competition, means that in seven disastrous days they have said 'adios' to the Copa del Rey, the Liga Santander after this defeat to Ajax and two to FC Barcelona.
   
Tuesday's was the fourth consecutive home defeat suffered by Madrid and leaves coach Santiago Solari clinging to his job by a thread as their hopes of silverware are ended by the fifth day in March.
   
How must Sergio Ramos have felt as the Madrid captain watched from an executive box as he served the first of a two-game ban which he earned after deliberately provoked a booking in the first leg to ensure he would be suspended for this game to be able to start the quarterfinals with a 'clean sheet'?
   
Arrogance is sometimes a fault which carried a heavy price.
   
Real Madrid went into the game with a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, but that was soon wiped out as Ajax took the return leg by the scuff of the neck and passed their way through the Madrid defense for Hakim Ziyech and then David Neres to put them 2-0 up on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.
   
Madrid were shell-shocked and things got even worse for them when first Lucas Vazquez had to leave the pitch through injury and was replaced by Gareth Bale. Bale was booed by a section of the fans in the Bernabeu.
   
Vinicius Jr, who has been the brightest spark for Madrid in recent weeks, then had to limp off with a muscle injury after shooting into the side netting as things went from bad to worse for Madrid.
   
Any hopes of a second half fightback looked to be over when Dusan Tadic made it 3-0 on the night after the VAR confirmed the ball had not gone out of play in the buildup to the goal.
   
Marco Asensio, who has been out in the cold under Solari, gave Madrid a brief glimmer of hope with a left foot shot in the 70th minute, but that hope was immediately snuffed out when Lasse Schone curled a free kick over Thibaut Courtois just two minutes later.
   
There was still time for things to get even worse for Madrid with Bale apparently injuring an ankle after landing badly in the closing minutes before Nacho was sent off for seeing two yellow cards in the space of a few seconds.
   
At the final whistle the fans in the Santiago Bernabeu were almost too stunned to boo or whistle, but after the disasters of the last seven days, this story clearly has a long way left to run.