It has been a dramatic night in European football. Ajax Amsterdam was hoping to keep a +7 goal margin with Olympique Lyon (meaning that no matter what the Dutch did, Lyon needed to score seven or more goals than Ajax today in order to pass). The French team got a 1-7 win while Ajax could only see Real Madrid getting an easy 0-3 win in their stadium.
But that was not all. Manchester City and Manchester United are out of the Champions League as well, so Real Madrid can face Napoli, CSKA Moskow, Basel, Leverkusen, Marseille, Zenit and AC Milan in the next phase. Not bad for a Champions League draw.Mourinho decided to start some bench players but he also gave minutes to the Benzema-Higuaín duo. In case you're wondering, it all seems as though Benzema will get the start against FC Barcelona because he was benched during the most of the second half while the Argentinian stayed on the bench for the whole 90 minutes.
Granero and Sahin were the chosen ones to play on the midfield and Arbeloa, Varane, Coentrao and Albiol formed the defensive line in front of Adán. Callejón returned to the starting XI and he certainly left a good impression during the game.
In the 14th minute, a sloppy Real Madrid took the advantage after a great pass from Kaká. Callejón controlled the ball and placed the ball between the legs of Ajax's goalkeeper to score his third goal in this Champions League. Kaká was not very dominant in the game, but no Real Madrid player really was, except for Callejón and Higuaín briefly.
Real Madrid was very relaxed about this game, knowing that they didn't need anything special, so they waited for Ajax to attack and then went on the counterattack. The Dutch team didn't want Real Madrid to score many goals knowing that Lyon was not likely to score seven goals. The French team proved them wrong and it was already too late when Ajax started to wake up.
It is fair to say that the referee was wrong when he disallowed two Ajax goals in the first half because of offsides. Neither one of them was illegal so the Dutch team should have gone to the locker room with a 2-2 draw. Higuaín scored Madrid's second goal in the 41st minute after a nice long pass from Karim Benzema.
Benzema's former team started a comeback after Zagreb was forced to play with 10 men because of a red card. Ajax's crowd started to feel some anxiety because of Lyon's scoreboard, but they could not do anything to score. Adán completed a decent game saving some dangerous shots, but he also missed some crosses and the first disallowed goal of Ajax.
Mourinho decided to give some rest to Benzema and Arbeloa and he removed Granero from the field to play Xabi Alonso for the last 30 minutes. The Basque player missed last weekend's game so Mourinho wanted to give him some competitive rhythm before Saturday's match.
The last goal came in extra time when Callejón received a beautiful pass from Alonso and dribbled the keeper to score an easy goal. The rest of the second half was superfluous. One of today's disappointments came from Nuri Sahin. The Turkish player didn't find the flow of the game at any time. Of course, it is too early to judge him, but it seems like he is not fitter than he was a month ago.
So the good news is that Real Madrid got the win0-800.000€ is no joke--and no player was injured during the game. No offence to Manchester City and Manchester United fans, but it is also good news that this two top European teams will not be amongst our possible rivals in the next phase.
Now, the team can officially say that they are thinking about Saturday's big game.