Twitter went wild with (mostly) ecstasy as Real Madrid were unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League at the first knockout hurdle, following a wholly embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The hosts had a comfortable 2-1 aggregate lead coming into the home second leg, but that was immediately stripped down in the seventh minute, when Hakim Ziyech guided his shot past Thibaut Courtois.
And then, 11 minutes later, after some bamboozling footwork from Dusan Tadic, David Neres, who himself had previously dazzled fans with some mesmeric skill, took the tie into the Dutch side’s hands, with another cool finish. But even then, Los Blancos only needed one goal. Just one goal, it’s not that hard.
David Neres did a madness
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) March 5, 2019
Three on the other hand? That’s a bit harder. But that’s what was required when the aforementioned (and inexplicable) Southampton reject thunderbolted his strike clinically into the top corner to make it three. Yes, T H R E E! Even a much-poured over VAR check couldn’t help Santiago Solari.
6 – Dusan Tadic became the second ever player to score at least six goals for @AFCAjax in one Champions League season, after Jari Litmanen (in 1994-95 & 1995-96). Artist. pic.twitter.com/PcWdwN3JSi
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) March 5, 2019
Yes, Marco Asensio may have got one back in the 70th minute, but who cares about that. Because a couple of seconds later, Lasse Schone put any semblance of a fight back to bed with a wondrous, frankly ridiculous, maybe on purpose curling free kick over Thibaut Courtois’ wee little head to make it FOUR.
Lasse Schone thinks he’s Juninho
— Zito (@_Zeets) March 5, 2019
Courtois – too short
— Eoin McDevitt (@EoinMcDevitt) March 5, 2019
A glorious part of all this, of course, aside from the general demise of Europe’s most domineering team of the last few decades, was the whole Sergio Ramos fiasco.
If you’d forgotten, and you hadn’t forgotten, had you, the centre back got himself deliberately booked in the final moments of the first leg because, you know, Madrid were already through and he wanted a clean slate for the quarter finals. So, how did that go?
put the camera on Sergio Ramos right now I need to SEE HIS FACE
— Micah Peters (@micahpeters_) March 5, 2019
Say what you like about Real Madrid, but they have real togetherness.
With @SergioRamos banned from the first leg of the quarter-final, all his team-mates have decided to miss it as well out of solidarity.
Great team spirit 欄
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) March 5, 2019
Ajax performance tonight. Definitive Proof Karma does exist for Sergio Ramos after all?
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) March 5, 2019
But, in a game of pure greatness, there was still time for the greatest moment of them all. With merely a dash of dignity to be restored, Madrid were in. They had a three on one. They could piece together a bit of their wreckage before the final whistle.
But then Luka Modric squared it to Karim Benzema, and Karim Benzema, being Karim Benzema, slipped at the vital moment with the goal gaping, and Gareth Bale couldn’t turn it in at the backpost.
83′ Enormous chance for Madrid! Benzema has all but scored but the striker slips and misses the ball! Still 1-4 on the scoreboard! #UCL #reaaja
— AFC Ajax (English) (@AFCAjax_EN) March 5, 2019
So, there you have it, Real Madrid slipping out of the Champions League. What. A. Night.