07 December 2011
Fernando Magallon / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid sealed a perfect run in the UCL group stage in Amsterdam. The Whites earned a 15th straight victory against Ajax, something they hadn't done since the 1960/61 campaign. The Dutch team had two goals wrongly disallowed and were eliminated from the championship due to Olympique Lyonnais' 7-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb. With 18 points and a +17 goal-average, Real Madrid have had the best performance given by any team in the Champions League group stage.
Mourinho made several changes to his starting lineup, with Adan, Albiol, Varane, Sahin, Granero and Callejon all playing as starters. The manager said earlier this week that his men would be entirely focused on winning the clash and they proved him right by scoring 13 minutes into the game: Kaka saw Callejon running free from markers, assisted him, and the midfielder tallied the first strike of the evening with his left.
Ajax pressurised more intensely and Van der Wiel forced Adan to make a save on the 31-minute mark with a powerful shot from outside the box. Lodeiro scored from the following effort, but referee De Sousa wrongly disallowed it following instructions from his linesman. Another local goal was wrongly disallowed four minutes later; it came from a long shot by Anita that was deflected inside the box by Sulejmani.
This forced Real Madrid to pull rank and finish off the game. Benzema saw how Higuain avoided his markers and assisted him with a long pass (41') in an effort similar to the first goal's.
Ajax were constantly putting a siege on Madrid's goal after half-time and nearly tallied a strike from a Sulejmani lob that hit the crossbar. Mourinho strengthened his midfield making Altintop come on for Benzema (53’) and later replaced Granero with Alonso (58').
Ajax continued to put Adan to the test with shots from outside the area, while Mourinho allowed youth teamer Mendes to make his first team debut by taking Arbeloa off (66'). The final minutes of the clash were pure agony for the locals and Callejon sentenced it on the 91-minute mark after being assisted by Alonso.