MADRID: Real Madrid’s three-year reign in world and European football is all over.
The record 13-times European champions lost 4-1 at home in the second leg of their Champions League second round tie against the brilliantly reconstructed Ajax Amsterdam and succumbed 5-3 on aggregate.
Tuesday night’s other tie saw Tottenham Hotspur progress to the quarter-finals after winning 1-0 away to Borussia Dortmund and 4-0 on aggregate with a decisive goal on the night from Harry Kane – his 163rd goal for Spurs and fourth against Dortmund in European competition.
The England captain thus also became Tottenham’s 24-goal record marksman in Europe.
For Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari European exit was further embarrassment after two defeats at home to old domestic rivals Barcelona in both the Spanish cup semi-finals and LaLiga. They even finished with only 10 men in front of a half-empty stadium after the late expulsion of Nacho Fernandez.
Madrid will also complain about a VAR controversy surrounding Ajax’s third goal by Dusan Tadic.
Los Blancos, with captain Sergio Ramos suspended after deliberately collecting a yellow card in the first leg, had been looking to build on a slender 2-1 lead from that game in Amsterdam and stay on course for a potential fourth straight European triumph.
However, after Raphael Varane’s header rattled the crossbar, Ajax raced into an early lead through Hakim Ziyech before Tadic set up David Neres for a second in the 18th minute.
Madrid were forced into two changes when Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior went off injured, with substitute Gareth Bale hitting the post just before half-time.
Ajax looked to have put the tie to bed when Tadic swept in a brilliant third goal just after the hour – which was eventually given following an extensive Video Assistant Referee review to check if the ball had gone out of play in the build-up.
Substitute Marco Asensio briefly gave Real hope when he put the ball in off the post with 20 minutes left. But Lasse Schone capped a brilliant night for Erik Ten Hag’s side when he curled in an angled free-kick over Thibaut Courtois on 72 minutes.
Real finished with 10 men after Nacho picked up two needless late cautions as Ajax progressed to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2003. Madrid were the first holders to fail to qualify for the quarter-final stage since Chelsea were knocked out in the group stage in 2012-13.
Their 4-1 defeat was also their biggest ever margin of defeat in a home knockout game in European competition and only the third time they have lost four successive home games at the Estadio Bernabeu after 1995 and 2004.
Spurs march on
Harry Kane rewrote the history books as Tottenham finished off Borussia Dortmund to reach the quarter-finals.
The England striker’s 14th goal in 17 Champions League appearances just after half-time rewarded Spurs for the manner in which they withstood a first-half barrage at the Signal Iduna Park.
Progression represents progress for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who went out to Juventus at this stage last season. It means they are in their first Champions League quarter-final since Harry Redknapp took them there in 2011.
However, it was not an entirely comfortable evening for Spurs – the outcome might have been different had Dortmund taken one of 11 first-half chances.
Jan Vertonghen, the first leg hero at Wembley three weeks ago with a goal and an assist, again came up trumps for his side with a brilliant goal-saving tackle on Marco Reus after the Dortmund skipper capitalised on a Davinson Sanchez error.
Spurs were not helping themselves as they were sloppy in possession and the wave of early pressure continued as Reus’ had a deflected effort that Hugo Lloris grabbed at the second attempt before Mario Gotze’s shot from the edge of the area was blocked by Christian Eriksen.
The Premier League side will have taken comfort from the fact that Dortmund’s desperation to score might leave holes at the back which they could exploit – and that happened on the half-hour.
It opened up for Eriksen in the middle of the park and he slid Son through on goal. The South Korean has a brilliant scoring record against Dortmund and would have expected to score but he stubbed his shot wide under pressure from defenders.
Attacks like that were a rarity, though, and it was only down to some heroic goalkeeping from Lloris that Spurs were able to survive a Dortmund barrage.
First the France captain kept out Julian Weigl’s header, with Ben Davies brilliantly blocking the rebound from the same player, before Lloris again produced a fine flying save to keep out Raphael Guerriero’s curling effort, with all three chances coming in the space of a minute.
Lloris, who has produced some costly errors in the Champions League this term, then had to save more routinely from Jadon Sancho and Paco Alcacer as Pochettino’s side somehow got to half-time with their 3-0 aggregate lead intact.
With the advantage of kicking towards their famous ‘Yellow Wall’, Dortmund will have been fancying more of the same.
But, just as they did at Wembley in the first leg, they suffered a damaging start to the second half as Kane put the tie beyond reach.
The man who so often scores for Tottenham when they need him to, showcased his clinical finishing in the 49th minute.
After getting back onside when a move broke down, he found himself in space and when Moussa Sissoko slid the ball through there was little doubt about the end result as Kane fired into the top corner.
That ended any doubts about the outcome and Dortmund were unable to recreate the intensity and pressure they had produced before the interval.
Spurs could have had a bigger winning margin had they used the ball better on the counter-attack, but they were not troubled in the same manner at the other end.
Indeed, Lloris was not forced into another meaningful save until the 90th minute when he kept out Alcacer’s low shot with his legs, ensuring Dortmund were stopped from scoring in front of their own fans for just the second time this season.