Ajax skipper de Ligt: More to come from us, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Ajax skipper de Ligt: More to come from us

Ajax Amsterdam captain Matthijs de Ligt is confident his side can go on to cause more Champions League mayhem after booking a surprise quarter-final place with a stunning upset victory over defending champions Real Madrid.

The Dutch side overcame a 2-1 first-leg deficit, triumphing 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg yesterday morning (Singapore time) to advance 5-3 on aggregate and send the Spanish giants crashing out.

"We will see how far we go, but we are certainly not finished yet," de Ligt said.

"We made it difficult for Bayern Munich," the defender said of Ajax's performance in the group phase.

"And now we've knocked Real Madrid out. It was no surprise to us. Real give a lot of room away and, if you are prepared to play football, you know you can make it very difficult for them."

De Ligt, 19, added that Ajax were more clinical in Madrid than they had been during last month's narrow home defeat in the first leg in which they had been the better side.

"The only thing we didn't do in that game was score (enough) but, tonight, we got our first two chances into the net," he added.

"Were we at our best? I think so, otherwise you don't beat a team like Real Madrid."


They showed no sign of an inferiority complex in the return and delivered a complete display that recalled the great Ajax team managed by Louis van Gaal who reached consecutive Champions League finals in 1995 and 1996.

"This was pretty close to perfection," said a beaming Ajax coach Erik ten Hag.

"Over the two matches, we definitely deserved to progress to the next round. I enjoyed watching my team immensely this evening."

Ajax forward Dusan Tadic, who set up two goals and scored the third, said Zinedine Zidane had helped inspire what he described as the game of his life.

The 30-year-old Serb laid on passes for Hakim Ziyech and David Neres to give Ajax an early two-goal lead, then capped a virtuoso display with a thunderous finish into the top corner to make it 3-0.

"This is probably the best game of football I've ever played," said Tadic.

"We beat the best club in the world. I'm very proud and we made a lot of people happy tonight."

Tadic, who joined the Dutch side last year after struggling for consistency in four years at English club Southampton, bossed the centre of the pitch and dominated Real's midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro.

"Zidane was always my favourite player. Maybe I was watching too many of his clips," he added. - REUTERS