Real Madrid vs Ajax : The Champions League last 16 first leg tie between Ajax and Real Madrid at the Johan Cruyff Arena was due to have Szymon Marciniak as referee, but UEFA have now stated that the Pole will oversee VAR while Damir Skomina will be the referee on the pitch.
== MATCH INFO ==
Team : Real Madrid vs Ajax
Date : Wednesday,13 February
Start Time : 3:00 Pm Et
When Skomina has overseen Los Blancos in the Champions League, they have a fairly strong record, winning six games and losing two.
The Slovenian was the referee in Madrid’s last 16 tie against Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu two seasons ago as the Spaniards won 3-1, while he also oversaw Madrid’s 2-0 victory against Ajax in the group stages in September 2015.
Both defeats that Skomina was in charge for came against German sides as Madrid lost 2-0 away at Dortmund in 2014 and 4-3 at home to Schalke in 2015.
The knockout stages of the Champions League will see the first use of VAR and UEFA have made a concerted effort to educate teams on how it will be used prior to the knockout ties kicking off.
Real Madrid have managed to recover their form and Thibaut Courtois has indicated that they intimidate their rivals more than they used to do several weeks ago.
The Belgium international has claimed that Los Blancos will compete in all three competitions they are currently in, aiming to go all the way and win each trophy.
“I notice that now they see that it is harder to win us,” Courtois told the press.
“In October we had a very bad month and now they see that we are playing well and they are more afraid of us.
“We are here to fight for everything, [including] the Copa del Rey, LaLiga Santander until the last day and to get as far as possible in the Champions League.
“When you play at Real Madrid you play to win everything.”
The 26-year-old went on to talk about the upcoming Champions League encounter against Ajax and praised the Dutch side.
“Ajax are a great team, as they have bought Daley Blind and Dusan Tadic, and already had great players like Hakim Ziyech, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong,” Courtois added.
“They know how to play football and we have to be careful with them.
“Ajax have shown in the Champions League against Bayern Munich that they are a great team.
“It’s going to be a very tough game and we have to concentrate.
“We have experience and we know that we have to give everything, and no player will think that tomorrow will be an easy game.”
Finally, the former Chelsea goalkeeper has discussed the controversial use of the VAR in Spain, as it also makes its debut in the Champions League this week.