By Stefan Coerts, Goal.com
Real Madrid recorded a 4-1 victory over Ajax in Wednesday's Champions League Group D encounter at the Amsterdam ArenA.
The guests deservedly went 1-0 up in the 42nd minuted when Cristiano Ronaldo found the net from close range, before Karim Benzema made it two shortly after the break with a fantastic finish. Niklas Moisander pegged one back after a corner kick only minutes later, only to see Ronaldo restore Madrid's two-goal lead with a well-placed shot. Shortly after, the Portugal star got his hat trick with yet another fine finish.
Madrid started the match the better side of the two and got a number of chances to open the scoring early on. Ronaldo should have gifted the Liga champions the lead in the 14th minute, but he failed to beat Kenneth Vermeer from inside the area. Kaka then came close only minutes later, but he too was denied by Vermeer as the glovesman made yet another excellent save, while the Ajax shot stopper also kept out Benzema's shot from the rebound.
Ronaldo once more threatened after 35 minutes of play, but his header after Kaka's pinpoint cross was too weak to trouble Vermeer. Nevertheless, the Portugal international did find the net shortly after. Benzema danced past Toby Alderweireld down the left, before sending in a low cross that deflected into Ronaldo's path, who tapped home from close range.
Ajax started the second half with attacking intentions, but its changed attitude immediately was costly. A poor free-kick from Christian Eriksen was the start of a Madrid counterattack, which eventually ended up at Kaka on the right wing. The Brazilian curled in a perfect cross for Benzema, and the striker found the net with a fantastic bicycle kick.
The Eredivisie champions pegged one back from out of nowhere in the 56th minute, though. Eriksen found the unmarked Moisander with a corner toward the far post, and the defender headed home as Iker Casillas arrived at the scene too late.
Madrid continued to threaten on the counterattack and both Benzema and Angel Di Maria could have restored its two-goal lead. The former's header went over the bar, though, while the latter's shot was stopped by Vermeer.
Ajax, meanwhile, got a huge chance to level the scoring after some good work from Ryan Babel. The attacker sent in an excellent low cross from the right for substitute Danny Hoesen, who really should have found the net from five yards out. Nevertheless, the former Fulham youngster rushed his shot and squandered the chance.
Ronaldo then put the match to bed in the 79th minute after a quick combination with Benzema. The Frenchman set up the prolific attacker on the edge of the box, and the former Manchester United star beat Vermeer with a well-placed shot in the far corner.
There was more to come from Ronaldo, though, as he got his hat trick only one minute later with a delicate chip over the Ajax goalkeeper after being played in by a neat pass from Sami Khedira.
Ajax sits last in the section with zero points from two meetings. Its next game is the home match versus Manchester City on Oct. 24.
Real Madrid leads Group D with six points from two encounters, and resumes Champions League action away against Borussia Dortmund in three weeks time.
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