De Jong suggests ‘big clubs’ more likely to benefit from VAR

Frenkie de Jong reacts in Ajax's loss to Real Madrid

Frenkie de Jong felt frustrated by the VAR call that denied Ajax an opening goal against Real Madrid, but he remains proud of his team.

Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong suggested VAR is more likely to favour a “big club” in the wake of his side’s controversial 2-1 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Second-half goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio gave holders Madrid a last-16 first-leg victory at Johan Cruijff ArenA, despite Hakim Ziyech having given the home side some hope.

Nicolas Tagliafico had a goal disallowed in the first half following a VAR review, with referee Damir Skomina penalising Dusan Tadic for interfering with Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois while in an offside position.

De Jong, who is to join LaLiga champions Barcelona in July in an €86million deal, thinks such decisions will usually go in favour of the major sides.

“We did well as a team. It’s a shame our goal was disallowed. Maybe something like that is easy to do in favour of a big club. We’ve had that as well,” he told NOS.

“But we carried on well and we had our chances afterwards. It’s too bad it didn’t get us a better result.

“In Spain, we have to play the same way we did at home, with bravery and conviction. Nothing has been decided yet. Real will feel more pressure in front of their own fans.”

Ziyech, who had equalised with 15 minutes of normal time left only to see Asensio snatch a late winner midweek, insists Ajax can go to the Santiago Bernabeu for the return leg without fear.

“We can be proud of the team,” he said. “We fought for each other. It’s disappointing to give it away in the last few minutes.

“If we play with the same attitude, the same guts, then we don’t have to be afraid of the Bernabeu.”

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