Ajax ‘slapped’ Real Madrid in beating at Bernabeu
Nicolas Tagliafico has said Ajax crushed Real Madrid in the opening 20 minutes of Tuesday’s incredible 4-1 Champions League win at the Bernabeu.
Led 2-1 in the first leg of the round of 16, Ajax took a 2-0 advantage in the second leg after just 18 minutes thanks to goals from Hakim Ziyech and David Neres and inflicted the worst defeat on domicile in European history of Madrid.
“Our idea was to score and try to qualify, but we never thought we could score two goals so quickly,” Tagliafico said. Cadena Cope told radio. “We slapped Real Madrid in the first 20 minutes.”
Madrid, without suspended captain Sergio Ramos, experienced defensive difficulties and two more goals in the second half, from doomed Dusan Tadic and Lasse Schone Los Blancos to a crushing loss and an overall exit of 5-3.
“Sergio Ramos is a mainstay of Madrid’s defense but we played a perfect game,” Tagliafico said.
Tadic scored one and put two more in a virtuoso display for the Eredivisie outfit.
“Tadic always sticks an extra half hour in each training session to practice his dribbling and it went well against Madrid,” Tagliafico added.
Captain Matthijs de Ligt is confident that his club, which have won the elite club competition in Europe four times, can continue to make an impact in this season’s competition.
Ajax reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 16 years and haven’t reached the last four since 1997.
“We’ll see how far we go, but we’re certainly not done yet,” De Ligt told Dutch reporters.
“We made it difficult for Bayern Munich,” he said of Ajax’s performance in the group stage. “And now we have eliminated Real Madrid.
“It was no surprise to us. Real Madrid give a lot of room and if you are ready to play football you know you can make it very difficult for them.
“Were we at our best? I think so, otherwise you don’t beat a team like Real Madrid. We knew it would be difficult but there would also be opportunities.”
Coach Erik ten Hag said the performance was “as close to perfect as it gets” and his young Ajax side deserve to improve.
“Everything worked for us, but we forced it ourselves,” he said. “I think in the two matches we have shown that we are good enough to move forward and it is with great class that we were able to show our qualities in Madrid.”