Real Madrid defeat Ajax 2-1 at their home
After starting the season poorly, Real Madrid have reinvigorated themselves remarkably since manager Julen Lopetegui was replaced with Santago Solari. Now, they have taken a right step in the the Champions League, a tournament they have been dominating for the past few years. The three-time defending champions have managed to defeat Ajax in the first leg of their round of 16 match. Here's more.
Ajax came very close to scoring in the first half
Ajax, who've found themselves in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in 13 years, were looking promising in the first half. Tadic made a valiant effort in the 26th minute, but his 20-yard screamer hit the post. Argentine Tagliafico's goal was ruled out by the VAR, making it the first-ever Champions League goal to be affected by a VAR decision.
The second half was rife with action
All three goals were scored in the second half. It was on the 60th minute when Real Madrid livened up the match with Vinicius making a run and crossing the ball to Benzema, who did not hesitate to put it past the Ajax keeper. With 15 minutes to go, Ziyech leveled the score, only for Asensio to get one in for Real later.
Some interesting stats from the match
In their last seven fixtures against Real Madrid in Europe, Ajax have not managed to get a single win, conceding 22 goals, and scoring three. In their last seven UCL away knockout matches, Real have lost just one, and have won their last four. Vinicius has now provided eight assists this season in all competitions, the highest among all Real Madrid players.
Real now have a huge advantage in the second leg
The second leg of this encounter will be staged at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 6. Real Madrid will be going in with a big advantage as Ajax will have to keep them at bay while scoring three goals themselves in order to proceed to the next round. Los Blancos will surely put in their best performance at home to win.