Raul and Ruud dispose of Werder Bremen 2-1
19 September 2007, MADRID -AFP - Real Madrid opened their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen here Tuesday, with veteran captain Raul and arch shooter Ruud van Nistelrooy stealing the Bernabeu limelight.
19 September 2007
MADRID -AFP - Real Madrid opened their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen here Tuesday, with veteran captain Raul and arch shooter Ruud van Nistelrooy stealing the Bernabeu limelight.
Real went into their opening Group C match in what was their 300th European fixture in buoyant form with three wins out of three seeing them topping their domestic league, but without injured duo Pepe and Gabriel Heinze and the suspended Mahamoud Diarra.
Werder Bremen's sicklist was longer, with six of their first team regulars missing, although playmaker Diego made it to Madrid after winning his race against fitness.
Real's new German coach Bernd Schuster said before the game that he was relishing the chance of getting "closer to my dream" and was looking for a strong start.
And he wasn't disappointed when Raul headed in van Nistelrooy's low cross from the left side of the penalty area to put Real in front in the 16th minute.
That took the 30-year-old Raul's European haul to 57 goals to consoldiate his position as the competition's top scorer.
Despite his effort it didn't take Werder long to restore parity, 60 seconds to be precise when Boubacar Sanogo slipped his marker to latch on to Dusko Tosic's cross from the right and shoot past keeper Iker Cassilas from close range.
Van Nistelrooy was proving his usual potent self in attack but without reward while strike partner Wesley Sneijder, who has made such a strong impression since joining the Spanish champions, forced Bremen keeper Tim Weise into action with a shot just before the break.
A frenetic second half in which both sides had chances eventually produced the deciding goal from van Nistelrooy, who on 74 minutes latched on to Raul's neat throughball to side-foot the ball past the wrong-footed Weise for his 50th Champions league goal.
The tireless Dutchman's productive night ended on a low night when he received a yellow card from English referee Howard Webb for a foul on Hugo Almeida.
Raul meanwhile was given a hero's send off when he was substituted with six minutes remaining for the newcomer from Cheslea, Arjen Robben, on his first appearance for Real since his summer transfer from Stamford Bridge.
Afterwards Schuster said: "We had to work hard to get this victory.
"Werder Bremen are difficult opponents despite their situation in the German League.
"There were parts of the game which pleased me a lot, others less. I found that our second goal took too long in coming, but overall I'm satisfied."
[Copyright AFP with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news