Ajax Amsterdam vs. Real Madrid - Football Match Report

Aubrey Yates
February 14, 2019

Real Madrid against Ajax would typically be a clash of stars against prodigies but, when they face each other in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie today, the difference will be harder to distinguish. Their previously solid defense crumbled late last month in a 6-2 defeat to archrival Feyenoord and Erik ten Hag's team slumped to a 1-0 defeat on Saturday to Heracles Almelo.

Real coach Santiago Solari, whose predecessors Zinedine Zidane and Julen Lopetegui both used young players only when they had to, has made youth his first choice since being tasked with rejuvenating his team in November. Tomorrow is very important for this competition and this is where we focus. "There we can learn from Madrid - they created less chances but scored more goals".

Those two games highlighted the question Solari has to resolve in Holland: against Barcelona he played the experienced Marcelo at left back and watched as Barca picked on the Brazilian time and again, exposing his poor positioning and clearly marking him as the weak link in the Madrid defense. "We are playing the victor of the last three Champions Leagues".

Ajax thought they had taken the lead 10 minutes later when Nicolás Tagliafico nodded home from close range, but after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) the goal was ruled out for an offside.

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Solari said he had not seen the images.

Tadic then held off Sergio Ramos to fire in a shot that hit the post, and Ziyech missed another one-on-one chance with Courtois as Ajax's incisive passing stretched the visitors.

Young forward Vinicius Junior is will start alongside Bale and Karim Benzema in a front three. "The goalkeeper can't challenge for the ball because of him".

Ajax's Donny van de Beek, right, argues with referee Damir Skomina from Slovenia during the first leg, round of sixteen, Champions League soccer match between Ajax and Real Madrid at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2019.

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