Ajax’s victory over Real Madrid in last night’s Champions League round of 16 second leg has been the talking point of world football, with the Spanish giants bundled out of another competition this season.
While the result itself was massive, it was surprising from a statistical point of view. Their chances of winning an astonishing fourth consecutive Champions League trophy have faded in what can be described as a disappointing season.
Real’s 2-1 win in the first leg had many thinking that they would progress to the quarter-finals, however this was the first time that Los Blancos have been eliminated after being victorious away from home in the first leg in Europe’s top club competition.
It is also the first time Real Madrid have missed the quarter-finals since 2010.
Last night’s match was also the first time that Real conceded two goals in the first 18 minutes at home in the Champions League. Hakim Ziyech gave Ajax the lead in the 7th minute, while David Neres added to the scoring in the 18th minute.
The Santiago Bernabeu has been viewed as a fortress for Real throughout the years, however this was the second consecutive home match that they lost by a three-goal margin – CSKA Moscow also thrashed Real 3-0 at the Bernabeu on the last matchday of the Champions League group stage.
As for Ajax, their victory and subsequent progression to the quarter-finals also has lots of statistical significance.
They are only the second club in history to eliminate Real from a European knockout match after losing the first match at home. They join Danish side Odense BK, who eliminated the Spanish giants from the third round of the 1994/95 UEFA Cup.
It was also the first time since 1995 that Ajax scored at least four goals in a Champions League knockout match – they defeated Bayern Munich 5-2 in the second leg semi-final of the 1994/95 competition, in which they went on to win the whole tournament.
From an individual point of view, Serbian attacking midfielder Dusan Tadic became the second player in history to score at least six goals for Ajax in a season in the Champions League – the first was Finnish legend Jari Litmanen in both the 1994/95 and 1995/96 seasons, who helped the club make the final of the competition twice in a row.
Last night’s match was a big one that brought lots of surprise. The win gave Ajax fans lots of joy and brought back memories of the successful Ajax sides of the past. It will be interesting to see whether they can progress past the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League.