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Masterful Madrid too much for Ajax

Real Madrid CF 3-0 AFC Ajax
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká and Karim Benzema completed an emphatic victory that cemented the Spanish side's place at the top of Group D.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring Madrid's first goal
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring Madrid's first goal ©Getty Images

Real Madrid CF produced a potent attacking performance to see off the challenge of AFC Ajax, who slipped to a heavy defeat despite a spirited showing.

Frank de Boer's visitors suffered a 2-0 reverse at the Santiago Bernabéu last season and leave the Spanish capital empty-handed once again after goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká and Karim Benzema helped the Merengues to a second successive Group D win. The result leaves Madrid two points clear in the section ahead of two fixtures against second-placed Olympique Lyonnais.

De Boer insisted his side had matured since their loss in Madrid last September and his players provided ample proof in the game's opening stages. Derk Boerrigter made sure Iker Casillas was alert from the outset with a dangerous snapshot the goalkeeper did well to parry before Kolbeinn Sigthórsson curled an effort over the bar and had a close-range attempt at a lob swiftly cut out by Casillas.

Winners against GNK Dinamo Zagreb in their first fixture, Madrid slowly began to find their rhythm and they should have taken a 16th-minute lead when Benzema sliced Sami Khedira's cutback wide. Kenneth Vermeer came to the visitors' rescue shortly afterwards, impressively blocking at the feet of the advancing Ronaldo before quickly responding to beat out Khedira's follow-up.

Momentum now with the hosts, the opener arrived in the 25th minute. Ronaldo turned in his eighth goal of the season following a flowing move in which the goalscorer fed Mesut Özil, who in turn found Benzema to cross for the Portuguese to apply the finishing touch. Ajax struggled to recover and fell further behind four minutes before the break, Kaká accepting Ronaldo's pass outside the area and drilling low past Vermeer's fingertips.

The nine-time European champions kept up the pressure after the restart and were out of sight in the 49th minute. Benzema was the beneficiary this time from Kaká's poked assist, the France forward finding the net with the help of a deflection off defender Jan Vertonghen.

Christian Eriksen tried to provide the spark needed to lift Ajax spirits, but the Dane's left-footed strike only found the side netting. Vertonghen then drew a flying save from Casillas with a powerful header, but it was Madrid's night and a fine evening was completed by the late introduction of substitute Hamit Altıntop for his club debut. Ajax, meanwhile, will look to add to their single point against Dinamo on matchday three.

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