Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring as Real Madrid eased to a 4-1 home victory over Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday. Already through to the knockout stages, Madrid took the lead in the 13th minute when Luka Modric won the ball in midfield and passed to Karim Benzema, who crossed for Ronaldo to hit his sixth goal of the competition this season.
Jose Callejon doubled Madrid's lead by beating the offside trap, deftly controlling Modric's pinpoint long pass and firing in off the post in the 28th minute. Kaka added a third in the 49th before Derk Boerrigter pulled a goal back for Ajax and Callejon scored his second goal of the night in the 88th. The only consolation for Ajax was a place in the Europa League.
The Blancos started the match with attacking intentions and looked to have open the scoring after only seven minutes of play when Benzema tapped home from close range, but the referee disallowed the goal for offside. Shortly after, Madrid again threatened as Fabio Coentrao hit the post with a powerful shot from the left.
Madrid remained the better side of the two and did eventually break the deadlock in the 13th minute. Benzema escaped the offside trap after a fine pass from Luka Modric, and then kept his calm to set up Ronaldo, who found the empty net with a confident shot from within the area.
Benzema continued to cause the Ajax defence all kinds of trouble with his intelligent movement and came close to adding his name to the score sheet after being set up by Kaka, but Kenneth Vermeer reacted alert and denied the Frenchman.
The Ajax goalkeeper was beaten in the 28th minute after a superb counterattack, though. Modric bullied Siem de Jong off the ball inside his own half, before unleashing a magnificent pass over the top of the Ajax defence for Callejon, who superbly controlled the ball and calmly slotted home. The Eredivisie champions, meanwhile, failed to really threaten at the Bernabeu, with Viktor Fischer's low shot after an individual action as their only noteworthy feat of the opening 45 minutes.
Jose Mourinho's men immediately charged forward again in the second half, and were rewarded within five minutes when Kaka showed his class. The Brazilian picked up a pass from Ronaldo inside the Ajax half, dribbled a few yards, and then beat Vermeer with a placed shot from 20 yards out. Ajax pegged one back at the hour mark after some poor goalkeeping from Antonio Adan. The 25-year-old failed to collect a cross from the left after rushing off his line, and Boerrigter had no trouble finding the empty net.
Adan made amends for his error some five minutes later, though, when by saving Boerrigter's free kick from the edge of the box. Danny Hoesen then should have helped Ajax further back in the game after shaking off Ricardo Carvalho, but the young striker wildly blasted the ball over the bar from a dangerous position. The hosts would eventually restore their three-goal lead after some good work from Alvaro Morata, though. The youngster went by his direct opponent down the right, and then sent in a perfect cross for Callejon, who doubled his tally for the night with a good header.
Madrid have finished second in their section with 11 points from six games. They resume domestic action with a trip to Valladolid on Saturday. Ajax have qualified for the Europa League round of 32 following Tuesday's results as they have to settle for third place in Group D. Their next match is the Eredivise game at home against Groningen.