A Real masterclass
A double from Cristiano Ronaldo formed the centrepiece of a masterclass by Real Madrid here on Tuesday as they eased to a 4-0 away win over Dutch side Ajax in their Champions League Group G clash.
The Portuguese star scored twice in the second-half after first-half goals by Karim Benzema and a stunning effort by Alvaro Arbeloa had put them in cruise control mode - the only blot on their evening were two late sendings off of World Cup winning duo Xabi Alonso and Sergi Ramos.
Ajax coach Martin Jol had gone for broke in his line-up with three strikers - including Uruguayan Luis Suarez despite his being punished by the club for a biting incident at the weekend - and two attacking midfielders.
Jol probably hoped Jose Mourinho would use the match to try some of his second choice players but the Portuguese maestro resisted the urge and injured players apart it was a first choice team that kicked-off.
Benzema - who showed his class with a goal against England in the friendly victory last week - shot home from just inside the area after Mesut Ozil had deftly knocked back with his heel Alonso's perceptive long pass.
Ajax had little bit in attack as Suarez was swamped whenever he got a sniff of the ball and it was no surprise when the visitors struck again shortly before half-time.
Ronaldo's freekick rebounded off the wall but Arbeloa had no hesitation in trying his luck from way outside the area and his swerving effort left hosts 'keeper Maarten Stekelenburg rooted to his line.
Ronaldo should have made it 3-0 in the 47th minute as Benzema found him and he twisted free of his marker to be one on one with Stekelenburg but the Dutch 'keeper somehow managed to get down and deflect the shot over the bar leaving the Portuguese superstar shaking his head in disbelief.
He was not to be denied in the 70th minute, though, as set up by Argentinian substitute Angel di Maria he made no mistake as he shot past Stekelenburg and 10 minutes later he converted a penalty.