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BC-SOC--Real Madrid-Ajax

March 5, 2019
AP Sports Writer

MADRID (AP) — Ajax stunned Real Madrid 4-1 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday, eliminating the three-time defending champion 5-3 on aggregate in the round of 16 of the Champions League.

Ajax needed less than 20 minutes to reverse a 2-1 deficit from the first leg, with Hakim Ziyech scoring in the seventh minute and David Neres in the 18th.

Dusan Tadic, who set up both first-half goals, added to the lead in the 62nd, and Lasse Schone sealed the Dutch team’s triumph — and its first quarterfinal appearance since 2003 — with a free kick from a tight angle in the 72nd.

Marco Asensio had pulled the hosts closer a couple of minutes earlier.

It was the fourth straight home loss for Madrid, something that hadn’t happened since 2004, and capped one of the worst weeks in the club’s recent history.

It also ends an unprecedented era of dominance in the Champions League after winning three straight titles. Madrid had reached at least the semifinals in eight straight seasons and hadn’t failed to make it past the last 16 since 2010.

The humiliating defeat to Ajax followed two demoralizing home losses to Barcelona — 1-0 in the Spanish league and 3-0 in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey.

Madrid, in its first season without Cristiano Ronaldo, hadn’t lost a Champions League knockout tie since the 2015 semifinal against Juventus.

Ajax was playing in the last 16 for the first time since 2006.

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