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And that is the final whistle - a convincing win for Madrid in the end, but they made it stickier than they should have!
JUST WIDE FROM BENZEMA! Would have been a fabulous goal from range but a great save Vermeer again. He's had a fine game.
In the first of three added minutes.
Lukoki on the right, but he appears to miskick it and Ramos clears.
Corner to Ajax conceded by Arbeloa. Poor though, cleared back to Eriksen to just heads it straight to Casillas.
Madrid break, could be a fifth here but Alonso's ball to Ronaldo catches him a touch off guard, he has to turn and play a team-mate in and the chance is gone.
Eriksen loses out to Ramos before fouling the Spain defender. Ajax well beaten now but at least they scored!
No, a goal kick is given. Maybe Ronaldo got the last touch - he looks perplexed, seemed a corner to me!
Ronaldo almost gets a fourth but, flying in at the near post, is denied by a brilliant Blind tackle. Corner. Benzema's ball was superb.
Real clear that corner easily enough, and the counter could be on now...
Lukoki's first act is to win a free-kick off Marcelo, which results in an Eriksen corner.
AJAX SUB: Babel has done little and is replaced by Lukoki.
I was just about to say that Ajax's hopes are surely over now - make that definitely. Good thing I'm not a betting man, I had 3-1.
GOAL REAL MADRID! HAT-TRICK FOR RONALDO! 4-1 and Ajax's comeback is dead in the blink of an eye. Lovely diagonal pass from Ozil on the right, nice first touch from C-Ron and a deft chipped finish inside the right-hand post. Game over.
CR7 played a one-two with Benzema, great interplay there, and the Frenchman found Ronaldo on the edge of the box, the finish a dipping effort past a flying Vermeer. Great goal.
GOAL REAL MADRID! Cristiano Ronaldo makes it 3-1 with a superb drive from range!
Blind loves getting forward but his ball aimed into the box is off target this time.
A bit of nonsense as Benzema tries to prevent a quick Ajax free-kick deep in the Dutch side's half.
Benzema gives away a free-kick as Real prepare another change - a knackered Kaka replaced by Ozil.
Boerrigter could be in here but Pepe gets there first and does well to draw a foul.
Babel gets hold of the ball on the edge of the box but he fires over. Ajax in the ascendance now!
Bit scrappy as both sides concede free-kicks, Marcelo and Eriksen fouling Babel and Pepe.
AJAX SUB: Poulsen comes off for the wonderfully named Sporkslede.
WHAT A MISS FROM HOESEN! Fine cross from Babel on the right, De Jong can't convert it under pressure from Ramos and Hoesen, unmarked at the back post, blasts it high and wide. Head in hands for the kid.
A late run from De Jong almost pays dividends but Marcelo reads it to clear. This match is on all of a sudden!
AJAX SUB: Young striker Danny Hoesen, formerly of Fulham's reserves, comes on for what I believe is his debut. He was called into the squad from Jong Ajax due to their injury crisis. He replaces Sana, will go up front and allow Babel to play wide.
Marcelo tumbles in the box under a challenge from Van Rhijn but no penalty! Need to see that one again!
Real come again as Marcelo has it wide left, Alonso keeps it ticking along... They need a third really, not just for clear daylight but to vindicate my prediction of a 3-1 win to Real.
Ronaldo surges forward, threading it wide to Di Maria, he cuts back and unleashes a surprise low shot that Vermeer bats away!
Blind bombs down the left wing and picks out Boerrigter with a decent low ball, he takes it first time and flicks an inventive finish just wide! A touch of the Van Persie about that attempt!
REAL MADRID SUB: Callejon is replaced by Di Maria. Interesting change, as they are similar players but Di Maria more gifted in the dark arts of gamesmanship.
Ajax are boosted by pulling one back, and Real will do well not to self-destruct. Bizarre really as they've controlled this match.
Ajax take their time over this, as they should as it's a fantastic chance for Eriksen to level... 25 yards from goal, central - into the wall and Poulsen trips a defender.
Essien handballs Eriksen's shot on the edge of the box, and that's a booking.
That's the second home goal Ajax have scored in the Champions League in six matches.
GOAL AJAX! 2-1! Moisander heads it through Casillas's legs at the far post from Eriksen's corner! Not for the first time, Casillas was all over the place at a ball from wide, flapping and out of position before getting nutmegged for the finish.
Sana now has a shot, which is blocked into Blind's path but his effort is deflected wide for a corner.
Now Ronaldo has a dig from range but Vermeer is equal to it! Good spell this.
Callejon with a fantastic run to spring the offside trap, but he gets his finish all wrong, wide of the post!
The home fans are well and truly silenced now. This could be a long 40 minutes or so.
Benzema races on to a Kaka flick but the flag is up! That was touch and go.
Great challenge from Kaka to slide in on De Jong as he raced clean through! Had he mistimed that we'd have seen a red card!
That is Benzema's 15th goal in his last 18 Champions League matches.
GOAL MADRID! Benzema makes it 2-0! A wonderful goal! A bicyle kick from Kaka's cross to cap off a delightful counter-attacking move that the Frenchman started himself, setting Marcelo on a driving run before Kaka was picked out on the right. What a goal!
Weirdly Poulsen wins a free-kick off Callejon, even though his boot was a yard higher than the Spaniard's. Eriksen to swing it in from the left, but Real clear.
Promising start to the half for Ajax, who are coming at Real with an air of intent that was lacking in the first half.
The second half gets underway - no changes that I can see.
UEFA have the possession stats at 55% to Real, although it seemed closer to 60 to me. 14 shots on target, should be winning handsomely but for Vermeer.
Half time and it's 1-0 to Real Madrid, thoroughly deserved on the balance of play. Any comments, you know where to find me!
Just one minute of added time.
Real all over poor Ajax now, who haven't been helped by injuries but look unable to live with the Spaniards.
Excellent play down the left by Benzema in that move, leaving the right-back for dead as he raced inside. It's Ronaldo's 12th goal in his last 11 Champions League matches and fourth in three against Ajax.
GOAL REAL MADRID! Cristiano Ronaldo, 1-0! A simple finish by his standards, prodding home from close range after Benzma's cross-shot was diverted into his path by a defender. May have come off two men actually, either way C-Ron was on hand to drill it home.
Ronaldo has his hands on his head after his through-ball is cut out. Advice to one of the world's best players - instead of moping, how about chasing down the defender, whose touch actually could have let C-Ron in?
Vermeer with an unconvincing save from Marcelo, who cut in from the left to unleash a low drive. Unconvincing in that he spilled it into a dangerous area, but his defence cleared well enough.
Babel is caught offside. He's really struggled as the main striker tonight.
Ronaldo with an inventive long-range effort, volleying just wide of the top left corner with his left foot after a weak defensive header from Callejon's cross!
Ramos and Babel tangle and the Real defender gets the call, much to De Boer's frustration.
Nice lofted ball from Kaka and Ronaldo arrives at the far post, heading towards goal but straight at Vermeer!!
Deary me. Ronaldo was in space on the left but he shrugged his shoulders in frustration and picked up the new ball - which is also not properly inflated. Schoolboy. The ref orders a change, then a drop ball.
Essien the latest Madridista to have a shot but his effort is blocked by Poulsen. Now Ajax counter, Eriksen leading the charge, he has an effort but Ramos blocks.
SUBSTITUTE: Ball is replaced by ball (injury).
That may well have been Ajax's chance for the half - Real are back in control of the ball, although they've had to change it (the ball that is) as there appears to be an inflation issue.
The ref obviously decided Casillas had been fouled in that incident, but he wasn't at all. Default European setting when a keeper blows it.
Casillas flaps wildly at Eriksen's ball, colliding with Alonso, and Van Rhijn arrives far post but he heads well over! Should have scored, terrible keeping Casillas!
And, after that spell of patient defensive possession, Ajax have their first corner of the night.
This is arguably Ajax's best spell as Real haven't created a chance for around two minutes. Much of that time has been spent passing it around their own box - no doubt the stat will hand them 60% overall possession for that.
Real attacking in waves and waves - UEFA claim they've had 52% of possession, but that is clearly an erroneous statistic.
Alonso almost releases Callejon with a tasty Hollywood ball but it goes beyond the Spaniard and the keeper claims.
A long ball from Blind almost lands for Boerrigter, who hits the deck under pressure from Ramos but no foul.
Kaka almost releases Benzema but Ajax have men back and Blind brings it clear.
Marcelo on a mazy run down the left but the Brazilian wing-back can't get a cross of note in.
Finally Ajax get forward as De Jong shoots from range, well over though.
Now Kaka gets another chance from the edge of the box but his low drive is parried by Vermeer at the near post, the keeper dropping to his knees to prevent a corner.
Kaka with a shot from range but Alderweireld blocks it and Ajax clear.
It's all Real at the moment, as you'd expect. Babel and co barely touching the ball.
Kaka with a dangerous lofted ball into the box but just over the head of the late-arriving Arbeloa. Lovely cross from the left.
Real are convinced that Ramos has been fouled from that corner but the ref turns his back and walks on.
Vermeer with a superb double save from Kaka then Benzema! Brilliant from Kaka on the edge of the box, taking two defenders out with one touch before driving a low finish that the keeper batted away to the right; Benzema arrived to drill the rebound on target but Vermeer managed to shift to the right and palm it behind!
Suddenly Real have their tails up as they attack in waves. Ajax have everyone behind the ball though. That was fine keeping from Vermeer.
GREAT SAVE VERMEER! Ronaldo sent scuttling through on the left, fine pass by Kaka, and he took it early enough but the Dutch keeper flew out to block!
Real come again but a heavy touch by Callejon on the edge of the box allows Ajax to sweep it up. The hosts, having had that half-chance early on, barely able to pass halfway.
Real dominating possession but Ronaldo falls to the ground on the edge of the box, no-one near him! Worrying initially but he gets up, he just slipped over his own feet.
Alonso takes the corner this time but, like Kaka before him, he overhits it. Disappointing. Kaka tries to retrieve the ball but commits a foul on Sana.
Lovely angled pass from Kaka on the left, searching for Ronaldo, but Van Rhijn anticipates to knock it behind for another corner. Again it's cleared, although Real retain possession as Ronaldo wins a fourth corner off Blind.
Real have a corner on the right but Kaka overhits it, Essien loitering far post but not nearly deep enough for that ball, which sails away for a throw.
Ronaldo to take this free-kick then, central and just under 30 yards out - but he blasts it into the wall and Ajax clear.
Ronaldo is sent tumbling to the ground by Van Rhijn, who is spoken to by the ref. He slid in for the ball but C-Ron was too quick for him. Free-kick around 28 yards out, C-Ron's range surely....
Alonso takes the corner for Real but Ajax clear their lines. Madrid come again though as Arbeloa hits the byline, but he can only look backwards to Callejon, who keeps it alive through Essien. Now Benzema has it right-centre but he can't beat his man and Ajax clear.
Ronaldo with a run down the right and a low cross shot that almost lands for Benzema but for a vital interception at the far post. Corner.
Promising for Ajax as Boerrigter leaves Arbeloa for dead down the Ajax left, he can drag the cross back but with no-one gambling on a run into the six-yard box Real can clear it.
Frantic opening few minutes as Kaka gets an early touch, closing down Blind as he presses from the front.
The first half is underway!
Jonas Eriksson of Sweden is the referee tonight as the toin coss sees Ajax choose their end. Real to kick off.
The teams are ready to come out and the fans are in fine form - the Ajax supporters all waving white and red flags.
Incidentally, the odds have shorted on Ajax winning since the teams were announced. Only slightly - from 13/2 to 5/1 - with Real lengthening a touch to 4/7 on having been 2/5. Draw still 15/4. Must be the decision to bench Ozil, Khedira, Di Maria and Higuain, but it's not as if they've replaced them with jokers...
That's some bench Real have got - Angel di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira. Wow. Michael Essien does start by the way - incorrect information originally.
It's always tough to make a prediction when a side like Real Madrid is playing because your head tells you they will win, as they usually do. With that front three they should score at least twice, but Ajax have some attacking talent and could easily get a goal or two. My feeling is 3-1 to Real Madrid. Send me you predictions on Twitter @Reda_Eurosport -
MATCH ODDS: Ajax 13/2, Real Madrid 2/5, Draw 15/4
FACT: Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 11 goals in his last 10 Champions League appearances and three in his last two against Ajax. Karim Benzema has scored 14 goals in his last 17 Champions League games.
FACT: Real Madrid have won 19 and lost just two of their last 26 Champions League games. Real Madrid have kept just one clean sheet in their last seven Champions League games. Real Madrid fired in more shots on target than any other team on Champions League match day 1 (12).
FACT: Ajax have won one of their last 11 games against Spanish sides (W1 D2 L8), including losing the last six in a row. The last four matches Ajax have played against Spanish teams have all been against Real and Madrid have won all four without conceding.
FACT: Ajax have failed to score in four of their last five European home matches, including a 0-3 defeat last season to Real Madrid. The Amsterdam-based side have also failed to score in their last three home games in Europe against Spanish opposition, including the last two both against Real.
Jose Mourinho: "I think Ajax will present us with a completely different match compared with earlier seasons. They have worked with Frank [de Boer] for another season and they are now more used to the level of the Champions League. I think they can sometimes lose some of the Ajax qualities that can make them compete at another level. [Christian] Poulsen, for example, isn't really a player for the Ajax philosophy, but he fits into what Frank is trying to do in the Champions League."
Frank de Boer: "In matches like this, big players stand up and Eriksen has the potential to become such a player. That's why I criticise him, just to challenge him. I know he is only 20 years old but still his team-mates need his support. If it gets difficult he has to stand up and guide his team through it. Barcelona are the ultimate example. They keep passing and dominating as a team until they get the ball to (Lionel) Messi, who can do something with the ball no one else can."
Ajax are missing a host of stars, with Serbian winger Miralem Sulejmani the main absentee with an ankle injury. Eyong Enoh, Nicolai Boilesen and Kolvein Sigthorsson and Thulani Serero are also all out, but we get another chance to see exciting young Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen.
For Real, it is confirmed that a front three of Kaka-Ronaldo-Benzema will lead the charge against the Dutch. Xabi Alonso, Michael Essien and Alvaro Arbeloa return to the XI after missing out against Deportivo. Sergio Ramos also starts, cooling reports of a fall-out with Mourinho, while Jose Callejon also starts. Jose obviously likes him.
TEAMS - Ajax: Vermeer, Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind, De Jong, Poulsen, Eriksen, Sana, Babel, Boerrigter; Subs: Cillessen, Veltman, Dijks, Sporkslede, Schone, Hoesen, Lukoki /// Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, Essien, Alonso, Callejon, Kaka, Ronaldo, Benzema; Subs Adan, Varane, Khedira, Ozil, Modric, Di Maria, Higuain
So, before the teams are formally announced, we have a tip that Ronaldo, Kaka and Benzema will all start together for Madrid. Good on Kaka, the forgotten man at Real but one who has a fantastic record when he plays.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Champions League Group D clash between Ajax and Real Madrid in Amsterdam - kicking off at 7.45pm UK time, 8.45pm local. If you have any pre-match predictions or comments about these sides, please Tweet me on @Reda_Eurosport.
|07/12/2011||Real Madrid||3 - 0||Ajax|
|27/09/2011||Real Madrid||3 - 0||Ajax|
|23/11/2010||Real Madrid||4 - 0||Ajax|
|15/09/2010||Real Madrid||2 - 0||Ajax|
|22/11/1995||Ajax||2 - 0||Real Madrid|
|Ajax||1 - 0||FC Twente|
|ADO Den Haag||1 - 1||Ajax|
|Borussia Dortmund||1 - 0||Ajax|
|Ajax||2 - 0||RKC Waalwijk|
|sc Heerenveen||2 - 2||Ajax|
|Real Madrid||5 - 1||Deportivo La Coruña|
|Real Madrid||8 - 0||Millonarios|
|Real Madrid||2 - 0||Rayo Vallecano|
|Real Madrid||3 - 2||Manchester City|
|Sevilla FC||1 - 0||Real Madrid|