Ajax oust stunned holders Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg matches began on Tuesday
Ajax vanquish reigning champions at the Bernabeu
Spurs advance comfortably with away win
For the first time since 2015, the UEFA Champions League winner will not be Real Madrid.
Young challengers Ajax sent the three-time reigning champions packing in the Round of 16 with a 4-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night. The Dutch side prevailed 5-3 on aggregate.
Ajax immediately gave Los Blancos more than they could handle, scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes to seize the lead.
Serbian forward Dusin Tadic was a menace for Madrid’s defence, assisting the visitors’ first two goals and scoring their third. Tadic first latched onto a turnover forced at midfield in the seventh minute, picked his head up and teed up a first-touch finish from 10 yards for Hakim Ziyech. It was Ziyech’s second goal of the tie; the Moroccan scored Ajax’s lone tally in the home leg on 13 February.
Eleven minutes later Tadic played provider again, this time with considerable flair, putting Real Madrid defensive midfielder Casemiro through the spin cycle before rolling a pass to the near post for David Neres to slot home.
In the 62nd minute, Tadic finished off another graceful Ajax attacking move with a thunderous top-shelf strike to go up 3-0. For a moment it appeared the goal would be disallowed, as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) examined whether a sliding challenge to start the attack had carried the ball out of play. Upon review the goal stood, and the home side were faced with an increasingly insurmountable deficit.
Marco Asensio gave Real Madrid a glimmer of hope, polishing off an incisive run and pass from Sergio Reguilon to give the hosts their first goal of the evening and move them within a goal of tying the match up on aggregate.
But Lasse Schone’s set-piece stunner two minutes later effectively ended the holders’ hopes, and Nacho’s second yellow card in second-half stoppage time slammed the door shut. Sergio Ramos missed the match due to yellow card accumulation.
Ajax progress through a Champions League knockout stage tie for the first time since 1997, when they beat Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals.
Spurs sail through
A second-half strike from Harry Kane and a stout defensive performance lifted Tottenham to a 1-0 victory at the Westfalenstadion, giving Spurs a smooth 4-0 aggregate triumph over Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League Round of 16 fixture.
Moussa Sissoko cut open the hosts in the 48th minute, pouncing on a loose ball and playing through Kane for the only goal of the match. It created what proved to be an impossible task for Dortmund, who would have needed to score five goals to advance.
The German club controlled the pace of the game, earning 65 per cent possession, and created more chances with seven shots on target compared to just one for Spurs. But that one shot on frame made all the difference.
With the result Tottenham are through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the second time since 2010/11.
Did you know?
Ajax knock out the Champions League holders for the second time after 1994/95, when they beat defending champions AC Milan 1-0 in the final in Vienna with a goal from Patrick Kluivert
Real Madrid have now lost four consecutive home matches in all competitions for the first time since 2004
With six goals and three assists, Ajax's Dusan Tadic has been involved in nine goals this Champions League season, more than any other player
Harry Kane has now scored 10 goals in his last 11 appearances for Tottenham