Real Madrid and hat trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo scored some stunning goals to quell a spirited Ajax fightback in Amsterdam.
Kaka, Jose Callejon and Michael Essien were the surprise starters in this Champions League Group D clash at the Amsterdam Arena, and the former immediately rediscovered his good understanding with Ronaldo. The two set up chances for one another early on, but Kenneth Vermeer saved well on both occasions.
Ronaldo found the breakthrough shortly before the break.
Xabi Alonso released Karim Benzema down the left, the Frenchman's low cross caused havoc in the Ajax box, and the Portuguese winger slammed the loose ball under a clutch of defenders on the line.
Benzema himself got on the scoresheet immediately after halftime with a quite remarkable goal, sending a scissor kick into the top left corner from Kaka's dinked cross. In and of itself it was a brilliant strike but was especially impressive coming at the end of a flowing counter attack involving Marcelo, Callejon and others.
Ajax abruptly came back into it with a goal from a very sloppily defended set piece, Nicolas Moisander evading Michael Essien to nod in Cristian Eriksen's corner. It was the first goal the Dutch side had scored against Real in five Champions League meetings over the course of the last two years.
Young substitute Danny Hoesen missed a golden chance for the hosts, sidefooting over the bar from close range, but just as it began to get nervy Ronaldo killed the game off with two terrific goals in two minutes.
The number seven caressed a shot into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box, then effortlessly chipped Vermeer from a Sami Khedira through ball. Surprisingly it was his first Champions League hat trick.
Ajax 1 Real Madrid 4
Scorers: Ronaldo 42, 79, 81 (RM), Benzema 48 (RM), Moisander 55 (A)
Ajax: Vermeer, Blind, Alderweireld, Moisander, Van Rhijn; Poulsen (Sporkslede 68), Eriksen, De Jong; Sana (Hoesen 66), Boerrigter, Babel (Lukoki 81)
Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Essien (Khedira 78), Xabi Alonso; Callejon (Di Maria 61), Kaka (Ozil 75), Ronaldo; Benzema
Ref: Eriksson (SWE)
Buy your La Liga tickets with Viagogo, the secure ticket marketplace