Dusan Tadic and Ajax Amsterdam Take Real Madrid to Church!March 6, 2019
Ajax Amsterdam arrived in Madrid, went to the Estadio Bernabeu and gave a lesson in footballing excellence. This was an ode to the Cruyffian wholesome principle of passing the ball and moving into space, all as a unit while destroying the 13 time European champions, Real Madrid. To quote Musa Okwonga, “Ajax took Real Madrid to church. In their own cathedral!” I say they did more than just take Los Blancos to church. They gave a sermon and ended the service by wiping the cathedral pews and floor tiles with a team that looked jaded, uninterested and a shambles.
The guest preacher in the Spanish capital was Dusan Tadic, a player deemed surplus to requirements at Premier League relegation strugglers, Southampton. This night, he was in his element, unplayable and elusive for the most part. If his game were to be written down, recorded and produced as a song, it would be a remix to MC Hammer’s “Can’t touch this”.
Dusan Tadic against Real Madrid:
• Most chances created (5)
• Most assists (2)
• Most take-ons completed (4/4)
A complete performance to knock out the reigning champions. 🥊 pic.twitter.com/CWRNkYWjEP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 5, 2019
Tadic created the first goal by exploiting Real Madrid’s shortcomings in defence. There was plenty of space left barren by Casemiro and Toni Kroos who had lost possession upfield in the build up to the opening goal. Tadic, having found himself on the right inside channel, squared the ball to Hakim Ziyech who passed it beyond Thibault Courtois. Ajax with the early goal they desired so much.
His second involvement was borne out of balletic beauty. Deep in Madrid’s half, he picked the ball and ran at Casemiro who offered a flimsy challenge, calling it a tackle would be a disservice to the art of tackling. Dusan Tadic pirouetted away from Casemiro, leaving him for dead as he launched forward towards the heart of Madrid’s defence. He slipped in David Neres, a player blessed with Forest Whitaker’s eyes and supreme football talent, to put Ajax 2 up. In a trice, Ajax were ahead on the tie. The defending champions were facing elimination.
Dušan Tadić: "Zidane was always my favourite player. Maybe I was watching too many of his clips." pic.twitter.com/8fqayL2isy
— Mohamed Moallim (@iammoallim) March 5, 2019
If a church service ever offered cake instead of Holy Communion, then Dusan Tadic’s goal which was Ajax’s third would have been the icing, the cherry and the topping. Having worked hard to regain possession from Madrid’s overun midfield for the umpteenth time, Ajax worked the ball to the edge of Real Madrid’s box where Donny van De Beek found Tadic in space. He shifted the ball to his left peg and found the top corner. Game over. By the end of his game, Tadic had created the most chances of the night, provided the most assists and completed the most take-ons of the game.
— Anda (@TheLazywrita) March 5, 2019
A team of young, effervescent and hungry players were vastly superior to their more experienced opposition in their own turf. They played exceptionally well together. Daley Blind was commanding in defence. Frenkie De Jong was in control of the centre of the pitch, winning everything from headers to tackles and capping it off by seating the World Player of the year, Luka Modric, on his ass. For the most part, Ajax seemed to have 14 players on the pitch. An illusion brought about by their superior movement, positioning and uninterrupted comfort in possession.
Marco Asensio offered little resistance by pulling one back for Real Madrid before Lasse Schone made the result beyond doubt with a fantastic free kick.
With unbridled hubris and contempt, Sergio Ramos had thought this tie was over. So much so that he got himself booked so that he wouldn’t miss the first leg of the Quarter final, a supposedly more important game than this second leg vs Ajax. Karma did the most. In the high stands of Bernabeu, he was shooting a documentary of himself with a TV crew as his team got destroyed below.
Sergio Ramos was recording a documentary about himself tonighthttps://t.co/BgtwsfPWOr
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) March 5, 2019
What next for the Spanish giants? Certainly, a letter of dismissal has been drafted awaiting for Florentino Perez’s signature. Soon enough, it will be handed to Santiago Solari. Major changes in the the playing personnel are also imminent.
What next for the Dutch giants? A flight back to Amsterdam to take stock of a sermon in Madrid delivered to perfection and several thousands converted souls in the football world behind them now. Inexperience might see them fall to more battle-hardened European giants in the coming rounds. Whatever happens, the next chapter of their journey will be an interesting watch.