Real Madrid edge Ajax 2-1 on road in Champions League
THE HAGUE, FEB 14 — Champions League holders Real Madrid, winner of the last three seasons, are on course for the quarterfinals of the 2018/2019 Champions League after securing a 2-1 win at Ajax in the final minutes on Wednesday in Amsterdam.
The first half witnessed Ajax’s high pressure on the Madrid defense. After the first chance for Real forward Vinicius Junior, whose shot was saved spectacularly by Andre Onana, Ajax was close when Dusan Tadic hit the post.
Ajax forward Hakim Ziyech missed the next chance after a subtle touch by Donny van de Beek. Ziyech’s shot missed power and direction and hit Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
A few moments later, Ajax seemed to score, but the goal was disallowed by the VAR.
Referee Damir Skomina pointed to the middle of the pitch as if it was a goal and Ajax celebrated, but the VAR asked the referee to reconsider and watch the replay. After that Skomina disallowed the goal for offside by Tadic.
In the second half, Real’s Karim Benzema and Ajax’s David Neres got great chances. But both attempts were saved by the goalkeepers.
In the 60th minute, Real found the net. Vinicius beat Noussair Mazraoui on the left wing, cut inside, found Benzema and the French striker smashed home the opening goal.
Ajax didn’t give up and after substitute Kasper Dolberg had missed, Hakim Ziyech produced the equalizer in the 75th minute. He tipped in a cross from the left by David Neres.
One point seemed deserved, but Real substitute Marco Asensio came out in the 87th minute with a fine stretch at the second post.
The return leg is on March 5 in the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. – XINHUA