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Marco Asensio seals it for Madrid

Pin Asensio seals the deal for Real. EFE
Asensio seals the deal for Real. EFE

Marco Asensio seals it for Madrid

Goals from Benzema, Ziyech and Asensio see Madrid finish the first-leg of this last 16 Champions League tie victorious!

The first-half was a half of missed chances for both teams as it remained level throughout. Ajax's first clear chance of the game came as Mazraoui lined up to shoot but his effort dragged wide of the goal. Just minutes later, the Dutch team might have had a penalty as Toni Kroos brought Van de Beek down in the penalty area but the referee waved play on. Real Madrid's clearest chance of the first-half was Vinicius' as his right-foot screamer required Onana to produce a dramatic, vital save, keeping the score level.

Ajax had most of the possession and looked more threatening as they thought they had drawn first blood in this first-leg, only to have Nico Tagliafico's header disallowed after referee Skomina consulted VAR and confirmed the defender was offside.

We approached the break with Ajax the more creative and threatening team, while Real Madrid were more reactive than proactive.

The first 15 minutes of the second-half was largely similar to the first, with both teams missing clear chances. That was until Vinicius Jr set Benzema up to power one home for Madrid, breaking the deadlock and taking the score to 1-0 Madrid. Benzema, having scored four times in seven matches, was substituted not longer after his goal as Solari will look to rest the striker ahead of Madrid's upcoming fixtures against Girona, Levante and Barcelona.

The lead did not last too long however as Ziyech was able to draw it level for Ajax with a tap in. Neres picked up the assist and Ajax continued to press for a goal that would put them ahead in the tie. Chances came and went for Eric ten Hag's side but Marco Asensio soon silenced the crowd by slotting in Real's second of the evening.

Ajax found themselves with a last ditch chance in the dying seconds of the game as Dolberg picked up a chipped ball over the defence and looked to head it goalward but he can't get on top of it to generate power and the ball floated over the crossbar. The goal-kick that followed was the last action of the match and Real will feel confident that they can replicate tonight's performance in the second-leg on March 5th at the Santiago Bernebeu.

Olivia Gidman

Olivia Gidman

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