Real cruise past Ajax
Ajax crashed out of the UEFA Champions League thanks to a 3-0 defeat at home to Real Madrid.
Last Updated: 07/12/11 10:45pm
Ajax crashed out of the UEFA Champions League thanks to a 3-0 defeat at home to Real Madrid, who became only the fifth team ever to win all of their group stage matches.
Frank De Boer's men began the night confident of progression as they knew only a defeat combined with a win for Lyon at Dinamo Zagreb, plus a seven goal swing, would see them pushed into third place.
A much changed Real side, with Saturday's El Clasico in mind, will have further boosted their hopes
However, any good vibes they felt having seen Real's weakened team-sheet quickly evaporated as they were outclassed from the moment Jose Maria Callejon put his side into the lead after less than a quarter of an hour.
Gonzalo Higuain doubled their advantage four minutes from the half-time whistle and, with the hosts on their way out of the competition courtesy of Lyon's remarkable 7-1 win in Zagreb, Callejon added his second in the closing seconds.
Real, meanwhile, became the first team since their great rivals Barcelona to achieve a 100% record in the group stage, though it is interesting to note that none of the previous teams to do so have gone on to win the trophy.
Mourinho went into the match without a host of his star names, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Sami Khedira, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil and Iker Casillas all out of the side.
Even without those heavy hitters he was able to name an XI including the likes of Higuain, Kaka and Karim Benzema.
They duly took the lead after 13 busy minutes, Kaka providing the final pass from the right and Callejon with the finish from six yards.
Ajax attempted to test stand-in goalkeeper Antonio Adan from range, with Gregory van der Wiel and Cristian Eriksen both trying their luck following the goal.
Miralem Sulejmani was also looking to notch from distance, twice missing the target from the edge of the area either side of a Benzema shot that needed a smart save from Kenneth Vermeer.
The Eredivisie side began to find their radar as the half progressed, Adan finally called on by attempts from the persistent Van der Wiel and Eriksen.
Real had fewer clear chances but once again proved clinical four minutes from half-time when Benzema linked with Higuain, the latter rifling home right-footed from 12 yards.
Jan Vertonghen contrived to head Theo Janssen's corner wide from six yards two minutes into the second half, while Sulejmani rattled the crossbar in the 52nd minute.
As in the first period, the Dutchmen continued to have the best of the chances -Eriksen from just outside the box, Lorenzo Ebecilio with an inviting volley - but could not convert.
In the end a Real counter concluded the scoring in the last minute, substitute Alonso feeding Callejon, who provided the finish.
|Ajax||Team Statistics||Real Madrid|
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|7||Shots on Target||5|
|6||Shots off Target||4|
|54.8||1st Half Poss.||45.2|
|56.1||2nd Half Poss.||43.9|