MADRID, Sept 21 (Reuters) -
David Beckham struck with a 25-metre free kick to win back some support
from a furious Bernabeu crowd and give Real Madrid a 1-0 victory over
Osasuna in their first match in the post-Camacho era.
The first act of coach Mariano Garcia Remon, drafted in following the
shock resignation of Jose Antonio Camacho on Monday, was to restore
Beckham and Raul to the starting line-up.
There was little improvement but the night's one moment of brilliance,
an exquisite Beckham free kick in the 61st minute, sent the side into
provisional top spot in the Primera Liga.
'The team was under tremendous pressure,' Beckham told reporters. 'It
wasn't a brilliant performance but it was important to get the result.
'We can take heart from the togetherness of the team.'
A third 1-0 victory of the season gave Real nine points from four games
and took them two points clear of a group of six teams who held the lead
going into the midweek fixtures.
Among them are Espanyol, who are away at bottom club Getafe on Wednesday,
champions Valencia, who travel to face Deportivo Coruna, and Barcelona,
who are at home to Real Zaragoza on Thursday.
Camacho resigned after two defeats in four days, citing a lack of faith
in his own ability to inspire any improvement in the side's poor
performances so far this season.
Real ran out to whistles and boos from fans upset over the perceived
role of the players in Camacho's departure, with much of the venom
reserved for Roberto Carlos and Beckham.
A first touch of the ball for the Brazilian full-back led to
ear-splitting whistles and Beckham, Luis Figo and Ronaldo were all
jeered in the opening few minutes.
It was not until the 28th minute that Real created a chance, Luis Figo
taking a nodded through ball from Morientes and slipping a shot wide.
Raul hit the post with a measured shot from the edge of the area and as
the ball came back Albert Celades forced a fine one-handed save from
keeper Ricardo Sanzol.
Sanzol reacted quickly again at the start of the second half to deflect
Raul Bravo's flick from a near-post Beckham free kick.
Raul's sharp run down the left almost created a chance for Figo with 55
minutes gone and a few minutes later the captain's pass set Ronaldo up
for a shot that flashed wide.
Real were still largely uninspired, though, and it needed a set-piece
goal from Beckham, whipping in his free kick from a central position
midway between the halfway line and the goal, to claim the points.
Osasuna had a couple of half-chances late on, and the crowd continued to
voice their disapproval, but Raul was given a warm ovation when he went
off a couple of minutes before the end in a sign that the fans may soon
be willing to forgive and forget.
Real Madrid 1 x 0 Osasuna
Jose Romero Josetxo
Perez Pablo Garcia
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu
Referee: Rafael Ramirez Dominguez
Yellow Cards: David Beckham (90) - Real Madrid; Unai Exposito (36), John
Aloisi (51), Jose Romero Josetxo (59) - Osasuna
Goal: David Beckham (60) - Real Madrid