By Kian and Kyle, BBC Young Reporters
Real Madrid vs Ajax
Real Madrid’s 1,011-day rule as ‘Kings of Europe’ has come to an end after their shocking 4-1 (5-3 aggregate) loss to underdogs Ajax. Real Madrid were the better team on paper, however, on the day Ajax overthrew them and moved through to the Quarter Finals of the Champions League. This is the first time that Real Madrid have been eliminated from a Champions League since the 2014 – 15 season after losing to Juventus in the semi-finals.
One of the few tactics that the “Giants” had no choice in perusing but surely had backed was the sending off of captain Sergio Ramos in the first leg because he already had a yellow card. This is a common strategy due to the fact that the teams that go through to the quarter finals have their bookings removed for all future games. This means that Ramos would have had a clean slate if they had beaten Ajax and not be on a yellow for the second leg and risk getting sent off. People blame this strategy as Ramos could have made a major impact on the match would he have stayed on.
During the first leg Ajax suffered a 2-1 defeat due to a controversial decision to disallow Tagliafico’s first half goal. Their goal was ruled out due to Dušan Tadić being in an offside position while interfering with the goalkeeper. Despite the fact Tadić was not involved in the goal the decision stood as he prevented the goalkeeper from being able to possibly save Tagliafico’s headed goal.
Ajax arrived at the second leg determined to reclaim their lead and defeat 3-times champions league winners Real Madrid. Ajax proved they were still a force to be reckoned with after scoring 7 minutes in due to a wonderful assist by Tadić. Tadić then again assisted their second goal in the 18th minute allowing them to go into the second half winning 3-2 aggregate and with their fans fully backing them.
17 minutes into the second half Tadić again worked his magic, scoring their 3rd goal of the game. With 20 minutes to go Real Madrid’s hopes were lifted as Asensio scored an “off the post” then “in” goal. Despite Asensio’s ‘comeback’ goal Ajax still continued with their wonderful display of football and scored again 2 minutes later.
Courtois prevented many more possible goals after being forced into stopping shots from Donny van de Beek and Tadić. The game ended 4-1 after an embarrassing 90 minutes from Real Madrid. The partnership of centre backs Matthijs de Ligt and Daley Blind stood strong against the pressure applied to them by Madrid’s attack. They firmly held their own against the giants and were rewarded for doing so when coming out with a win.
After the match ended Tadić got his well-deserved MOTM (Man of The Match) as he was a crucial part of his team’s attack. Tadić was almost unrecognisable from his days at Southampton and was very clearly the key reason, alongside their fighting team spirit, that Ajax managed to overthrow Madrid.