Real Madrid vs Ajax preview: Sergio Ramos suspended for Champions League tie
Last Updated: 05/03/19 7:12pm
Sergio Ramos will be suspended for Real Madrid's Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Ajax on Tuesday (kick-off 8pm) as he serves the first of a two-match ban.
The Real Madrid captain picked up an 89th-minute booking in the first leg - which the current holders won 2-1 in Amsterdam - with suspicions that he had done so deliberately to miss the next game at the Bernabeu.
While Ramos has protested his innocence, UEFA handed him a two-game ban for "clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose", although manager Santiago Solari says his side have enough experience to cope without him.
"I'm sad that he won't play tomorrow's game. As you all know, he's a very important player for us, he's a leader," Solari said.
"We have players with experience and quality enough to replace him. Besides, Sergio's personality is imbued in the team, and he'll come with us, he'll be with us. Regarding the decision, I will not give my opinion."
Aside from Ramos' suspension, Real Madrid have no other major injury concerns ahead of the game.
For Ajax, centre-back Lisandro Magallan and midfielder Carel Eiting are likely to be missing as they were in the first leg.
- 100 per cent of teams to have won 2-1 away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout match have progressed to the next round (8 previous cases).
- Real Madrid have won their last seven games in all competitions against Ajax (22 goals for, 3 against), the best ever run for the Spanish side against a single opponent in European competition. Ajax's last victory against the Merengues was back in November 1995: 2-0 in the Champions League group stages at the Bernabeu with goals from Jari Litmanen and Patrick Kluivert.
- It's 22 years since Ajax progressed through a Champions League knockout stage tie - in the 1996-97 campaign when the Dutch side prevailed against Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals before being eliminated by Juventus in the semi-finals.
- Real Madrid have won the Champions League four times in the last five seasons. Juventus were the last team to eliminate Real in a Champions League knockout phase, back in the 2014-15 semi-finals.
- Real Madrid have reached the Champions League semi-finals in each of the last eight campaigns, a record run in the history of the competition.
- Real Madrid have lost two of their last five home games in the Champions League (W2 D1), as many as in their previous 48 at the Bernabeu combined (W40 D6 L2).
- 11 of Ajax's 12 goals in this season's Champions League have been scored in the second half (92 per cent).
Real are a very unpredictable beast at the moment. They can win the Madrid derby, but then put to the sword twice in a week against Barcelona.
Ajax are a decent side, they like to attack and it's nice to see them back in the upper echelons of European football. But there's no way they're going through. Real will do enough, they're unconvincing but I think they'll pick them off.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-1 (11/1 with Sky Bet)