REAL MADRID 1-4 AJAX (agg 3-5): The bigger they come, the harder they fall. After 1011 days as Champions League holders the 13-times winners Real Madrid came crashing down out of the competition losing 4-1 on the night to Ajax and 5-3 on aggregate. It was a humiliation. Gareth Bale watched it unfold from the bench and was helpless to change it when he came on as a first half substitute. Thibaut Courtois was as culpable as anyone letting in the fourth from a direct free-kick.
The bigger they come they harder they fall. After 1011 days as Champions League holders the 13-times winnersReal Madrid came crashing down out of the competition losing 4-1 on the night to Ajax and 5-3 on aggregate.
It was a humiliation. Gareth Bale watched it unfold from the bench and was helpless to change it when he came on as a first-half substitute. Thibaut Courtois was as culpable as anyone letting in the fourth from a direct free-kick.
Things started well enough. Rafael Varane headed Lucas Vazquez’ cross on to the cross bar after just four minutes and the Bernabeu believed Madrid had simply slipped into Champions League gear. They had not and the wheels were about to come off.
The Ajax players celebrated in the corner after Hakim Ziyech’s clam finish from close range put them into a shock lead
David Neres squeezed his shot past Thibaut Courtois to double their lead after a superb dribble from Dusan Tadic
Ajax midfielder Tadic scored a stunning curling strike from just inside the box to give the visitors a three-goal advantage
The referee consulted VAR for over four minutes as they tried to determine if the ball had gone out of play earlier in the move
The ball appeared to cross the line as Noussair Mazraoui tried to keep it in play but the angles available made it hard to tell
The Serbian star celebrated his goal in front of the travelling supporters after it was finally ratified by VAR
Marco Asensio swept the ball into the corner of the net with his left foot to give Real Madrid a glimmer of hope
Lasse Schone whipped a looping free-kick over the Real Madrid goalkeeper and into the top corner for Ajax’s fourth goal
MATCH STATISTICS AND MATCH ZONE
REAL MADRID (4-3-3): Courtois, Carvajal, Nacho, Varane, Reguilon, Kroos, Casemiro (Valverde 87), Modric, Lucas (Bale 29), Benzema, Vinicius Junior (Asensio 35);
SUBS NOT USED: Navas, Vallejo, Marcelo, Ceballos
SCORERS: Asensio (70)
SENT OFF: Nacho
AJAX (4-3-3): Onana, Mazraoui (Veltman 81), de Ligt, Blind, Tagliafico, van de Beek, Schone (de Wit 73), De Jong, Ziyech, Tadic, David Neres (Dolberg 74);
SUBS NOT USED: Bruno Varela, Sinkgraven, Huntelaar, Labyad
SCORERS: Ziyech (7), Neres (18), Tadic (62), Schone (72)
REFEREE: Felix Brych
M. O. M: Tadic
Ajax’s second goal move started from their goalkeeper but it was No 10 Dusan Tadic’s stunning run which made it possible with David Neres adding the finishing touch.
First Toni Kroos lost the ball in midfield and in a flash Dusan Tadic was crossing for Hakim Ziyech to score past Thibaut Courtois.
There was stunned silence from the Bernabeu save 4,000 Ajax fans many now with shirts off celebrating behind the north goal.
That was after seven minutes. By the 18 minutes mark Madrid were going out. Tadic spun brilliant away from Casemiro and ran at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. There was no resistance and it was Luka Modric left as the last man as David Neres got in behind him to slot the ball past Courtois.
Madrid were butter soft at the back. The Bernabeu whistled and Ajax almost scored again with Courtois saving from Tadic at his near post.
Neres misses a golden opportunity to make it 3-0 as he places his chip just wide of the Real Madrid goal during the first half
Gareth Bale goes almighty close to halving the deficit as he watches his shot rebound off the post after a skilful, mazy run
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana makes a superb diving save to his left and as he palms a stinging shot away to safety
Ajax duo Frenkie de Jong and Nicolas Tagliafico double up on Lucas Vazquez to win back possession for their side
Barcelona-bound de Jong rides the challenges of Casemiro (L) and Dani Carvajal (R) to pick out a team-mate
On 28 minutes injury was added to insult. First Lucas hobbled off to be replaced by Bale. Vinicius Junior followed soon after with Marco Asensio coming on. Madrid needed Bale more than ever yet still he was whistled on by many.
He came closest to getting Madrid back in it before the break hitting the frame of the goal with a lob.
As the half-time whistle went there were more whistles from the Bernabeu. Real Madrid would need a second-half hero with Sergio Ramos suspended and Cristiano Ronaldo sold, it looked like it would be Bale’s night or goodnight. It was to be goodnight.
Ajax almost made it three at the restart but Courtois saved from Donny van de Beek. Karim Benzema broke down the left but after tricking his way past Hakim Ziyech he went for goal with a wild shot that went well wide of the far post.
Real Madrid defender players show their frustrations as the home side suffer an early set back on Tuesday evening
Ajax’s Noussair Mazraoui is beaten to the ball by Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior and brings him down by the touchline
Gareth Bale almost gives the ball away in his own penalty area but recovers just in time to slide in and tackle Ziyech
Real Madrid forward Vinicius struggles to hold back the tears as he is forced to come off in the first half with an injury
Matthijs de Ligt rises above his marker Caemiro to head at goal but Real Madrid keeper Courtois makes a comfortable save
Real Madrid defender Carvajal gets back in time to see the ball out for a goal kick after being taken on by Ajax forward Neres
With Ajax’s next attack they scored the third and they got to celebrate it twice. Noussaire Mazraoul won the ball from Sergio Reguilon and when the ball reached Tadic the best player on the pitch postage-stamped it past Courtois.
Referee Felix Brych stopped the play to consult VAR. The ball looked to have gone out when Reguilon was dispossessed.
Bale led the complaints and time stood still until Brych’s verdict sent the traveling Ajax supporters into raptures once more.
There was no way back now. Asensio gave supporters some hope by scoring for Madrid but it was wiped out by Lasse Schone’s direct free-kick past Courtois who looked poorly positioned.
Ajax goalscorer Ziyech prepares to whip in a corner as a packed-out Bernabeu stadium watches on during the first half
Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio looks dejected and holds his head in frustration after missing a gilt-edged chance to score
Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro outjumps his marker to head the ball up pitch as two Ajax players watch on
Real Madrid forward Bale breaks down the wing and looks to deliver the ball into the box as Mazraoui tries to block
Sergio Ramos holds his hands up in dismay from the stands as the referee awards Ajax’s third goal after VAR allows it to stand
Bale looks in pain as he holds his ankle after taking a nasty knock late into Tuesday evening’s game at the Bernabeu
The Ajax fans were now doing the Poznan behind Courtois’ goal. Up in his private box Ramos looked down non-plussed by events. He chose to miss this game by picking up a forced booking in the first leg. Madrid looked home and dry at that stage.
Since then their season has imploded with league and cup gone. They needed him on the pitch tonight not looking down on one of the darkest nights in the club’s European Cup history.
Madrid’s season is over with three months still to play. The blame game will start now and this time Bale will not be the only target. Coach Solari will do well to last the season and the club will intensify efforts to bring in Mauricio Pochettino or Jose Mourinho.
The five minutes off added time were painful for Madrid. Bale was left hobbling after a knock on the ankle and Nacho was sent off. They must get used to being out of the Champion League now. Ajax are in the quarter-finals and deservedly so.