‘It’s a huge blow for Real Madrid’: Ajax hope to capitalise on absence of captain Sergio Ramos to spring Champions League upset
- Sergio Ramos is banned as Real Madrid host Ajax in Champions League last-16
- Ramos was found to have picked up a deliberate booking in the first leg of tie
- He will miss two games and Ajax feel they can capitalise to overturn 2-1 deficit
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is hoping they can mount a Champions League comeback against Real Madrid by capitalising on Sergio Ramos’ absence through suspension for the holders.
Real captain Ramos got a yellow card at the end of their 2-1 win in the last-16, first leg in Amsterdam and is suspended for the return at the Bernabeu on Tuesday, plus an additional European match, after UEFA ruled he got booked deliberately.
Nacho Fernandez will likely take Ramos’s place in the Madrid lineup alongside Raphael Varane at the heart of defence.
Denmark striker Kasper Dolberg has impressed again for the Dutch giants this season
Manager Erik Ten Hag puts his young charges through their paces before the European clash
The Dutch club believe they can make the most of Sergio Ramos’ absence for Real Madrid
‘It’s a huge blow for Real Madrid. (Luka) Modric and Toni Kroos are the bosses in the midfield but Ramos is a boss in defence and his absence from a physical and mental point of view will affect their team,’ Ten Hag told reporters on Monday.
‘Obviously they want to win a trophy this season and this is their last chance. Only in the Champions League can they win something and that will change their attitude on the pitch.
‘Our players will be ambitious and they will fight to stay in all the competitions.’
Madrid were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Barcelona in midweek and after another defeat by the Catalans in la Liga on Saturday they are now 12 points off the pace set by the Catalans.
Santiago Solari’s team know their last realistic chance of silverware this season is by winning the Champions League trophy for a record fourth consecutive season.
Veteran Klaas Jan Huntelaar may have a crucial role to play if Ajax are to mount a comeback
Frenkie De Jong will face Real Madrid ahead of his summer transfer to rivals Barcelona
Donny van de Beek takes part in the training session at the Santiago Bernabeu before the game
Former Manchester United defender Daley Blind (left) has plenty of European experience