Real leave it late to grab win over Olympiakos
A record 50th goal in the European Cup from
captain Raul and a late strike from substitute Roberto Soldado earned
Real Madrid a 2-1 victory over Olympiakos Piraeus in a Group F match at
the Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Real, thrashed 3-0 by Olympique Lyon in their opening game, appeared on
course for an easy win after Raul scored his record-breaking goal by
heading home a beautifully flighted cross from David Beckham in the
But Olympiakos grabbed a shock equaliser against the run of play through
midfielder Pantelis Kafes's scorching 25-metre drive three minutes after
Real remained on top throughout with Beckham turning in a memorable
performance, constantly menacing the Olympiakos defence with his teasing
crosses and pin-point passes.
It was not until Soldado arrived late in the second half that Real
converted their domination into another goal, the former youth team
player heading home another great cross from Beckham at the second
Real centre-back Sergio Ramos was sent off in injury time for
retaliating against a foul by Ioannis Okkas, the second time in three
games the 19-year-old has received his marching orders.
Real are equal on points with Rosenborg Trondheim who were beaten 1-0 by
Lyon on Wednesday.
The nine times European champions took charge from the first whistle.
Julio Baptista enjoyed the first chance of the game when Guti
wrong-footed the Olympiakos defence with a sharp back-heel but the
Brazilian forward lashed the ball over the bar from 10 metres. Five
minutes later the home side were in front.
This time it was Beckham who provided the assist with a superb curling
cross from the right and Raul directed the ball inside the near post
with a sharp header.
The goal took the Spanish international one clear of the great Alfredo
Di Stefano, a Real hero of yesteryear, as the all-time top scorer in
Europe's premier club competition.
Beckham was denied a goal when keeper Antonis Nikopolidis pulled off a
full stretch save to turn a venomous free kick past the post.
Just before the half hour Raul turned and slipped a clever pass to
Beckham and the England captain raced down the right before cutting the
ball back to Baptista. Nikopolidis produced another great save to turn
the ball round the post.
The Greek champions snatched an equaliser out of the blue two minutes
after the break. Picking up the ball some 25 metres out on the right,
Kafes unleashed a scorching drive which grazed a post on its way past
Real looked as though they would pay for the absence of leading striker
Ronaldo through suspension before Soldado eventually made use of the
England captain's great service.
Soldado's first header was blocked by Nikopolidis before he found the
net with his second.