Ajax absolutely belted Real Madrid right across their pudgy, bloated chops to knock the Champions League holders out in front of their own dismayed fans.
Coming in off the back of two consecutive Clasico defeats, Real got off to another rancid start by conceding two goals inside the first 20 minutes, with Hakim Ziyech and David Neres powering the Dutch upstarts into an early lead – 2-0 up on the night and 3-2 up on aggregate.
Neres’ goal was of particular delight, with a scintillating flash of footwork from Dusan Tadic well worth keeping an eye out for amid the approach play…
Tadic then added a third for Ajax in the 62nd minute, the former Southampton winger plonking a pearler into the top corner to put a fitting finish to yet another sweeping attacking manoeuvre.
The goal was only ratified after it took a clumsy four-minute VAR review to ascertain that the ball didn’t go out of play in the build-up.
To put it plainly, Ajax were now taking the piss – exemplified by the majestic Frenkie De Jong, who is off to Barcelona next season and may just have sealed early legendary status in Catalonia already.
Speaking of taking the piss, the travelling Dutch fans in attendance also began to sing ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ at one point, aimed in the general direction of their dejected Spanish counterparts.
Real did pull one back in the 70th minute when Marco Asensio sneaked a low shot through a crowded box and inside Andre Onana’s far post.
However, the Royal resurgence lasted all of two minutes, when Lasse Schone scored Ajax’s fourth and final goal of the game by rattling a freekick over Thibaut Courtois from an acute angle…
Nacho was then sent-off in stoppage time as the home side were left well and truly eviscerated. 4-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate. Comprehensive stuff.
It’s perhaps remembering at this point that club captain Sergio Ramos drew himself a deliberate yellow card at the very end of the first leg in Amsterdam (which the Spaniards won 2-1) to get himself suspended for this match on the proviso that his team would sail through the second leg and his disciplinary slate would be cleared for the latter stages of the competition.
We think ‘hubris’ is the word you’re looking for.
Remember when Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos took a deliberate booking in the first leg to preserve himself for the latter stages of the Champions League? https://t.co/skJ0BZuWeN
— Who Ate All The Pies (@waatpies) 5 March 2019
It’s always the least deserving who suffer, isn’t it?
So, Real depart the tournament on the back of their worst ever Champions League home defeat (the previous record was only set in December, against CSKA Moscow) with Ajax beating their foes for the first time since 1995/96 – the last time the Dutch side made it to the final.
Who knows, maybe history is ready to repeat itself? Few teams would be less deserving on current form.
Erik ten Hag’s youthfully exuberant side are certainly gifted, dynamic and energetic to give any of the remaining contenders a run for their money on the right day.