Real Madrid dug deep to defeat a determined Ajax side in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16. Los Blancos beat their Dutch opponents by two goals to one, courtesy of Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio. However, Real captain Sergio Ramos picked up a late yellow card and is looking at a potential two-game ban.
Ajax earned a lot of praise for their fearless performance against Real Madrid. However, it meant little in the end as the European Champions came out of the Johan Cryuff Arena with a win. Los Blancos also managed to score two away goals in the process, courtesy of Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio, and now hold a huge advantage ahead of the second leg.
However, what could have been a near-perfect result for the Spanish giants was marred by two irregularities. Firstly, Hakim Ziyech pulled one goal back for Ajax giving the Eredivisie club some hope before their trip to Madrid. Secondly, Real captain Sergio Ramos picked up a yellow card in the 89th minute, ruling him out of the return leg.
The Real Madrid captain came out after the match and admitted that he took the yellow card on purpose, so he could skip the second leg and be ready for the Quarterfinals:
“Yes, the truth is that seeing the result… it’s something I had in mind.
“It is not to underestimate the opposition but sometimes you have to make tough decisions,” said Ramos after the match.
However, Ramos’s comments about the booking being premeditated have put him in jeopardy, with the centre-back now facing a potential two-game ban.
UEFA has punished players in the past for similar offences. In 2017, they increased Dani Carvajal’s suspension by one game after he received an intentional yellow card. Seven years prior to that, the tournament organizers fined Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso for the same, while also giving the then manager Jose Mourinho a one-game touchline ban.
If found guilty, the Real captain can expect a similar punishment, which might see him miss both the Round of 16 second leg and the Quarterfinal first leg, provided Los Blancos make it through.