Real Madrid vs Ajax: Preview, Dream XI and more
Last week, Real Madrid were handed two successive El Clasico defeats in a space of four days. As a result, the confidence level in Los Blancos camp is down. Tonight, Real face yet another stiff task in the UEFA Champions League. The defending champions will be up for a cracking encounter against Ajax in the second leg of the round of 16. Here's more.
In the first leg, Real earned a crucial 2-1 win against Ajax away from home. Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio scored for Real in either half. Ajax scored through Hakim Ziyech in the 75th minute. Ajax also had a goal ruled out via VAR.
Real will miss out on skipper Sergio Ramos, who had picked up a deliberate booking in the first leg and was handed a two-match European ban. Lucas Vazquez is set to return with Gareth Bale expected to be on the bench. For Ajax, Dusan Tadic will continue in his make-shift role as a forward. Ajax's key players are all fresh and will feature.
Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari said, "The team really want to win and I like this. We're going out to win, as we always do. The team's in good shape and they have a lot of experience and are relaxed about what people are saying." Ajax boss Erik ten Hag stated, "Our players are ambitious. We are going into the match to score goals."
Real have won their last seven matches in all competitions against Ajax. It's been 22 years since Ajax progressed through to the next round in the knockout stage. Real lost their last knockout game in this competition in the 2014-15 season. The Spanish giants have lost two of their last five home games in the Champions League.
Thibaut Courtois leads the line in goal in this fantasy side. Raphael Varane (vice-captain) and Matthijs de Ligt form the central defensive partnership. Marcelo and Noussair Mazraoui are the full backs. In mid-field, the experienced Casemiro and Luka Modric add dynamism. David Neres adds the flair. Talisman Karim Benzema leads the three-man attack and the team. Dusan Tadic and Vinicius Junior will support him.
The match is set to be held at the Santiago Bernabeu. It's going to star at 1:30 AM IST. The match can be telecast live on the Sony Ten Network. One can stream the match live on the Sony LIV app as well.