Ronaldo double helps Real Madrid crush Ajax 4-0


Tue, 23 Nov 21:56:00 2010

Goals from Karim Benzema and Alvaro Arbeloa and a Cristiano Ronaldo double gave Real Madrid a crushing 4-0 win at Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday and secured top spot in Champions League Group G for the La Liga giants.

The boisterous Ajax fans did their best to warm up a chilly stadium and inspire their players. But the resounding loss to Real, who had already qualified for the knockout stage, and AC Milan's 2-0 win in Auxerre dashed the Dutch club's hopes of a place in the last 16.

France striker Benzema put Real ahead in the 36th minute when he finished superbly past Maarten Stekelenburg from the edge of the penalty area after Mesut Ozil's clever flick before Spain defender Arbeloa beat the Netherlands goalkeeper with a speculative long-range effort in the 44th.

Stekelenburg turned a Ronaldo effort on to the crossbar two minutes after the break but was beaten by the Portuguese with a low shot in the 70th and again from the penalty spot in the 81st after Ozil was fouled by Urby Emanuelson.

The match ended on a bizarre note for the visitors when Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos were both sent off after picking up second yellow cards for time wasting.

With victory crucial for the home side, Ajax coach Martin Jol had fielded an attack-minded starting 11 at the Amsterdam arena with striker Luis Suarez leading a three-man forward line.

However, it was the visitors who enjoyed the brighter start, with Ronaldo, Benzema, Ozil and Pedro Leon causing problems for the Ajax defence.

Benzema forced a good save from Stekelenburg with a powerful drive from a tight angle in the 19th minute and Ronaldo was furious when his penalty claim was ignored moments later.

Ajax, who won the last of their four European titles in 1995, hardly threatened Iker Casillas's goal before Alonso was sent off in the 87th and Ramos followed him down the tunnel in the first minute of added time.

Real remain unbeaten in all competitions under new coach Jose Mourinho and have 13 points from five matches, five ahead of Milan.

"We managed to come first in a very tough group. Little by little we are making a better impression in Europe and things are looking good for the next phase," Casillas told Spanish television:


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