Asensio nets late Real winner 2-1 as Ajax left to rue VAR decision

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 the 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.”

DAUNTING TASK

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

“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.