Ajax: Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Anita, Enoh, Emanuelson, De Jong (Lindgren 76′), Suarez, Sulejmani (Eriksen 86′) and El Hamdaoui (de Zeeuw 45′)
Match day 5 of the Champions League kicked off today. Real Madrid had already clinched a berth into the 2nd round of the competition and as such Mourinho decided to rest a few key players, especially with El Clásico just a few days away, which allowed some of his squad players to earn some playing time. Pedro León, Albiol, Arbeloa and Benzema all earned a starting spot in Amsterdan.
The whites only needed a point to secure top spot but Mourinho’s men only had eyes for all three points and as such came out pressuring the Dutch team, which they [Ajax] tried to resist. The saying, “pressure burst pipes” is what would best describe what happened over the course of the match. Real Madrid eventually got the breakthrough in the 36th minute through Benzema. They [Real Madrid] were awarded a freekick deep in midfield which Xabi Alonso took and found Özil over the top, who back-heeled it into the path of the onrushing Benzema, who hit a lovely curling shot to find the top corner for the first of the night. Ajax would eventually give away another freekick just outside the box in the 44th minute that Ronaldo stepped up to take. However, the Portuguese’s shot hit off the wall and fell right into the path of Arbeloa, who tee’d up his shot and let it fly to record his first goal of the season and Real Madrid’s second of the night (what a beauty it was!). At the start of the 2nd half things were exactly the same as it was in the 1st and Real Madrid came out applying even more pressure, trying to secure another goal. Ronaldo had the first opportunity to do so with a wonderful effort on goal just 2 minutes into the second half but his shot came off the bar. However, Ronaldo would earn his goal on the night, when Di María intercepted a bad pass out the back, cut inside to his left foot and sent in a lovely dinked ball over the top for Ronaldo who took one touch to control and then hit a left-footed strike to find the bottom corner for Real Madrid’s third. In the 75th minute, Özil almost scored the fourth from a freekick on the edge of the box but Stekelenburg got down quickly and palmed it away. It kept getting worst for the home side and in the 80th minute Özil won a penalty which Ronaldo stepped up to power pass Stekelenburg for Madrid’s 4th on the night.
It was indeed a world class performance by the whites and the true mark of champions considering they were playing with a “make-shift” team after Mourinho rested some key players as well there were injuries to both Khedira and Higuaín. The team controlled the entire game and didn’t allow Ajax any room to play or dwell on the ball, the passing was impeccable and opportunities were created in abundance by the whites. The only blemish on the overall performance was the sending off of both Alonso and Ramos for time wasting in the 86th and 91st minute respectively.
As fans, we should not get too carried away this is only the beginning of a very long journey for the whites and we can only dream until it becomes reality.
Highlights from the match