Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Substitute Asensio strikes late, Real Madrid beats Ajax 2-1

Substitute Asensio strikes late, Real Madrid beats Ajax 2-1

Real, victor of the last three Champions Leagues, recovered in the second half after being outplayed by underdog Ajax before the break at a packed Johan Cruyff Arena, when the hosts had a goal disallowed by VAR - the first time the video referee had overturned a Champions League goal.

The Amsterdam team went into Wednesday's match in something of a form crisis since the Dutch league's winter break.

Yet Skomina called for a VAR check and, after a number of replays, ruled that Tadic had been standing in an offside position when the goal was scored.

"Looking at the result, I'd be lying if I said I didn't force [the booking]", Ramos said when asked about the offence.

"His adaptation has been very fast", Solari said.

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Former Liverpool FC and Real Madrid star Owen believes that the stage is set for an open game on Wednesday night between the two sides. But it started confidently and Tadic almost gave Ajax the lead, his 26th-minute shot hitting the post after beating Courtois.

Benzema was not to be denied on the hour mark as the Frenchman rifled the ball into the top corner after some brilliant work by Vinicius Junior in the build-up.

Ajax got the goal their play deserved with 15 minutes remaining as Ziyech side-footed home after a sweeping move, latching on to a delivery from David Neres on the left.

Real created little in the first half.

Real head into the match full of confidence after a 3-1 win in the Madrid derby at the weekend, which was their sixth victory in a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

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Ajax claimed a foul in the build-up to the goal, but this time the VAR did not intervene and Real will take a slender advantage back to Madrid.

Ajax will parade their latest crop of young gems at the Johan Cruyff Arena, where Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt will attempt to live up to already-swelling reputations while the likes of Donny van de Beek, Andre Onana and Kasper Dolberg could also enhance theirs.

Ten Hag said Real would be favourites with Ajax still short of experience at the highest level after finishing second in the group phase behind Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari has paid tribute to Sergio Ramos ahead of their Champions League clash with Ajax.

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