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Champions League PIX: Real win as VAR denies Ajax; Spurs down Dortmund

Last updated on: February 14, 2019 13:52 IST

Images from the Champions League matches played on Wednesday

Real Madrid's Marco Asensio celebrates scoring their second goal against Ajax Amsterdam at Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Marco Asensio celebrates scoring their second goal against Ajax Amsterdam at Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam. Photograph: Eva Plevier/Reuters

Real Madrid's Marco Asensio scored a late winner in a 2-1 victory at Ajax Amsterdam, who were left to rue a goal disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in their Champions League last-16, first leg on Wednesday.

Asensio netted in the 87th minute from Dani Carvajal’s excellent cross to give Real the advantage heading into the return leg on March 5.

Karim Benzema swept holders Real into the lead in the second half, before Hakim Ziyech scored a deserved equaliser for an energetic Ajax, who created more than enough chances to win comfortably on the night.

 

They were also denied a first-half opener when Nicolas Tagliafico headed home only for the goal to be chalked off after a VAR check in a Champions League first as Dusan Tadic was judged offside.

Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, whose blushes were spared by the VAR decision after his error led to the disallowed goal, felt the officials got it right.

"The correct decision? I think so," he told reporters.

"When it happened I thought it could be offside. When the guy headed it I wanted to go and catch it.

"Because of his (Tadic's) intention I made a quick movement. Luckily for VAR because nobody would have seen it."

Sergio Ramos, making a 600th appearance for Real, backed the intervention of VAR and warned Ajax they will face a daunting task in the second leg.

Ajax's Hakim Ziyech is challenged by Real Madrid's Daniel Carvajal and Gareth Bale

IMAGE: Ajax's Hakim Ziyech is challenged by Real Madrid's Daniel Carvajal and Gareth Bale. Photograph: Lars Baron/Getty Images

"I have said many times that I am a great defender of the VAR because it will make football fairer little by little," Ramos said.

"We knew how to suffer, read the game and create spaces against them to take advantage of our speed. We achieved a great result and now it's up to them to suffer in our stadium."

The home side thought they had profited from a horror error by Courtois, who allowed a Donny van de Beek header to spill from his grasp and Tagliafico nodded the rebound into an empty net.

Yet referee Damir Skomina called for a VAR check and after a number of replays, ruled that Tadic had been standing in an offside position when the goal was scored.

Benzema put Real in front when he netted on the hour-mark, but Ajax got the goal their play deserved with 15 minutes remaining as Ziyech side-footed home after a sweeping move.

Yet Asensio had the final word, scoring at the back post from Carvajal’s cross.

"As a team we did well, it was too bad that our goal is rejected. Perhaps something like that is easy to do in favour of the big club," Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong said.

"But we have continued well and have received our opportunities afterwards. Too bad it did not yield a better result."

Vertonghen shines as Tottenham cruise past Dortmund 3-0

Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen scores their second goal against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium in London

IMAGE: Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen scores their second goal against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium in London. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Defender Jan Vertonghen scored once and set up another goal for Son Heung-min as Tottenham Hotspur thumped Borussia Dortmund 3-0 at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday to give them the clear edge following the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie.

Tottenham looked unfazed by the absence of injured captain Harry Kane and Dele Alli, scoring all three goals in a strong second half to take control of the tie and leave the Germans on the brink of a European exit.

Belgian Vertonghen notched his first goal in the Champions League with a well-timed volley in the 83rd minute after he had set up forward Son for a 47th minute lead. Substitute Fernando Llorente grabbed their third in the 86th, two minutes after coming on.

That was Son's ninth goal against Dortmund in 11 matches, with the South Korean, who played in the Bundesliga from 2010-15, having also scored twice in the competition's group stage last season.

"It was a fantastic second half," Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino told reporters. "The first half was difficult. It was a difficult game from the beginning.

"In the first half we played a little - not nervously - but not with the confidence. The second half was very, very good.

"There is still work to do."

Bundesliga leaders Dortmund, eliminated from the German Cup last week, were nowhere to be seen in the second half, with speedy teenager Jadon Sancho given no space to operate after the break. The return leg is on March 5.

Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Delaney and Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko in action during their Champions League Round of 16 first leg match

IMAGE: Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Delaney and Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko in action during their Champions League Round of 16 first leg match. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

"The first goal rattled us," Dortmund's Mario Goetze told reporters.

"And then the double strike towards the end killed us off. We were good in the first half but this is very bitter. We now need to get back on track."

Before Wednesday, Tottenham had never won a home match in the knockout stage of the competition and Lucas Moura came close with a fine shot in the seventh minute.

Dortmund, themselves missing injured captain Marco Reus and top striker Paco Alcacer, gradually took control and had the better chances in the first half with Christian Pulisic firing onto keeper Hugo Lloris and the Frenchman saving a point-blank header from Dan-Axel Zagadou.

But the hosts changed the course of the game two minutes after the restart, pouncing on a defensive error and with Vertonghen whipping in a cross for Son, who has kept on scoring in Kane's absence, to tap in.

Dortmund, who had conceded just two goals in the group stage, tried to recover but found no way past the disciplined Tottenham backline.

They also looked to be running out of steam when Tottenham scored twice late in the game.

Vertonghen timed his run to perfection in the 83rd to kill off the game and Llorente gave them a big advantage for the second leg. 

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