3 Reasons why Real Madrid lost to Ajax
Real Madrid was stunned by Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu with the Dutch side emerging 4-1 winners. The victory sent the latter through on aggregate while Real Madrid was left licking its wounds.
Ajax rocked the home side early and took the lead on the night through Hakim Ziyech in the 7th minute. Eleven minutes later, the visitors doubled their advantage courtesy a smart finish by David Neres.
Real Madrid went into the break a goal down on aggregate and it sparked a response at the start of the second half. However, Ajax firmly tilted the scales in their favour when Dusan Tadic rifled the ball into the top corner just after the hour mark.
Marco Asensio pulled a goal back for the hosts but the away side hit back almost immediately as Lasse Schone curled a delicious free-kick beyond the hapless Thibaut Courtois.
The defeat in the Round of 16 tie piled more misery on the Los Blancos with the Madrid outfit now in serious danger of ending the 2018-19 season empty-handed.
Here is a look at the three reasons that led to Real Madrid’s downfall:
#3 Real Madrid’s defensive deficiencies come to the fore again
Real Madrid’s European exploits over the years have been built on a sturdy defence. The stability at the back allowed their flair players to weave magic in the attacking third. However, this term, they’ve been woeful defensively and it reached a nadir against Ajax.
The Dutch side ran the Los Blancos ragged on the latter’s home patch and one would’ve been forgiven to think if the former was the one with three successive Champions League crowns.
The gulf in class was quite surprising as Real Madrid’s defence always seemed a step behind their Dutch counterparts. The likes of Nacho and Raphael Varane could never get close to the Ajax forwards and they were made to pay heavily.
Additionally, Dani Carvajal and Sergio Reguilon had a bad day at the office as the pair struggled against Ziyech and Neres’ directness.
On many an occasion this season, Real Madrid has capitulated in the defensive third. Yet, not many envisaged them getting annihilated in such fashion by any opposition, let alone Ajax.
Though the general consensus would be that the Los Blancos missed a certain Portuguese, the harsh reality is that their rear-guard was just appallingly poor against Ajax. Deservedly, they were sent packing.