Real Madrid beats Ajax 3-0 in Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka led Real Madrid to a 3-0 win over Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday as the Spanish team stayed top of Group D with its second straight victory.
Ajax carried the initiative until Cristiano Ronaldo swung the game in Madrid's favor with his 25th-minute opener at Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Kaka - making a rare start- doubled Madrid's lead before halftime and set up Karim Benzema to decide the game early in the second half.
Madrid has outscored the Dutch champions 9-0 in three meetings in the last two seasons.
Madrid has six points after two games, while Ajax has one. Lyon has four points after a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb, which is last with zero points.
''A good victory. We have put ourselves in a strong position in the group,'' Kaka said. ''Let's see if we can continue in this line and get through the group stage soon.''
Assistant coach Aitor Karanka directed Madrid as Jose Mourinho served the final game of his three-match ban for alleging UEFA referees favored Barcelona in Madrid's loss to the eventual champions during last season's ill-tempered semifinal.
But before handing over his team to Karanka, Mourinho reshuffled his starting 11 after his team's recent irregular play, sitting winger Angel Di Maria on the bench and picking Kaka alongside fellow playmaker Mesut Oezil.
Eighteen-year-old Raphael Varane got his third consecutive start in defense in place of the injured Pepe, alongside Ricardo Carvalho, who returned to the pitch after a concussion sidelined the veteran center back for one match.
Ajax stayed true to its traditional attacking style and dominated the first 15 minutes as its pressure disrupted Madrid and created a number of scoring chances.
Forward Derk Boerrigter almost surprised Madrid in the first minute with low strike from the edge of the area that Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas did well to save.
Benzema missed a clear chance in Madrid's first attack in the 17th, but the nine-time champion had found its flow and Ronaldo soon grabbed the opener in the 25th.
Ronaldo started and finished off a precision counterattack of one-touch passes between Oezil and Benzema that left the Portugal forward striding alone into the area to volley home.
Ajax coach Frank de Boer said his team's inexperience was behind the loss.
''We had the game under control, but they scored on the counterattack. We have to be smarter and better organized in these situations,'' the former Barcelona defender said. ''I think we deserved a goal. That will give us confidence going forward.''
Having taken the lead, Madrid shored up its defense and four minutes before halftime Kaka received a pass from Ronaldo at the top of the area, paused to pick his spot, and blasted a left-footed shot into the lower right corner of the net.
Kaka said that he feels he is finally returning to form after being slowed by injuries in recent years.
''Little by little I am showing good signs,'' Kaka said. ''Not just this game, but I have had a stretch of recent game in which I am getting better and enjoying playing football again.''
Madrid dominated possession after the restart and soon went ahead 3-0 in the 49th when Kaka penetrated from the left flank before sliding the ball over for Benzema to tap in.
Turkey midfielder Hamit Altintop came on for Madrid, making his debut with the club after recovering from back surgery following his move from Bayern Munich this summer.
Jan Vertonghen tried to snatch Ajax a late consolation goal, but Casillas stretched to save his header and keep his second clean sheet of the tournament.