Madrid coach Mariano Garcia Remon paid tribute to Michael Owen after he
gave his team a 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev, but made it clear that the
England striker was still not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up.
"I was very happy with Michael's performance," Garcia Remon said at a
post-match news conference. "What I wanted was mobility up front and he
responded very well indeed. He's improving all the time and has a great
"Of course we want everyone to play but sometimes even great players
have to stay on the bench. Overall, though, I was delighted with his
Owen notched his first goal for his new club when he slid in front of
two defenders to turn a low cross from Ronaldo in from close range 10
minutes before the break for the only goal of an evenly-balanced game at
Real, who were dealt a heavy 3-0 defeat in their opening game to Bayer
Leverkusen but produced a memorable 4-2 comeback victory over AS Roma in
their second, made a bright start as they laid siege to the Kiev goal in
the opening minutes.
But even after Owen put them ahead they were never able to relax against
the quick-breaking Dynamo forwards and had keeper Iker Casillas to thank
for stopping the visitors from levelling the game.
"I didn't think it was a risky policy to start with such an offensive
line-up," said Garcia Remon who also fielded Ronaldo and Raul in the
"We knew we could suffer against a team like Kiev and it was a shame
that we didn't take advantage of our domination in the first 25 minutes
to get an early goal.
"I think it was a deserved victory, but there could have been more goals
for both sides given the number of chances both teams had during the
game. We should have put the result beyond doubt before they put us
under so much pressure at the end."
Dynamo coach Josef Sabo bemoaned the fact that his team, who had won
their previous two group games, failed to take advantage of a string of
clear scoring opportunities to put Real under more pressure.
"It wasn't our day," he said. "We had the chances but didn't take them
so we will have to wait for the return match to see if our luck changes.
"In my opinion we should have won this game. We had plenty of chances to
score but we just weren't able to finish off. There was also a clear
penalty which the referee didn't blow for in the first half, but in
general the team played well.
"Playing Real Madrid here is very difficult, but their players are all
human and when we play them in Kiev we will be going all out for the win."