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Game review
Monday 11. September 2006 - 08:54

Van Nistelrooy and Beckham unite again for Real

Real Madrid's Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Beckham rediscovered the understanding they once had at Manchester United as the Spanish giants comfortably won 4-1 at newly-promoted Levante.

The pair showed that they still have more in common than a mutual dislike of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson with van Nistelrooy scoring a hat-trick and Beckham making two of Real's goals.

Van Nistelrooy got his first official goal in a Real jersey from the edge of the area after 16 minutes, his mis-timed right foot shot bobbling through he Levante defence.

Real's second strike on 27 minutes was equally fortuitous with David Beckham's excellent long-range pass being bagged by Antonio Cassano.

However, not only did the ball look as though it had hit the Italian's hand, Cassano's shot was also fumbled by Levante's diving goalkeeper Pablo Cavallero before going in the net.

Life took a further downward turn for the hosts, with former Real Madrid coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro at the helm, two minutes later when former French international Frederic Dehu was dismissed after hacking down van Nistelrooy.

Against the odds, Felix Ettien reduced the deficit just before half-time and Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello, unhappy with the direction the game had taken in the last 10 minutes of the first half, rung the changes during the break.

Capello pulled off Cassano and club captain Raul Gonzalez at half time and sent on Jose Antonio Reyes for his Real debut and the speedy Br azilian international Robinho.

The changes did the trick as Real sealed their victory in barely 10 minutes.

Van Nistelrooy and Beckham combined for Real's third goal, arguably the best of the night, after which killed off any chances of a Levante come back.

The Dutch striker missed a penalty five minutes from the whistle, for which Levante midfielder Diego Camacho also got his marching orders for bringing van Nistelrooy down in the area, but completed his hat-trick in injury time, chipping over the head of Cavallero from a Cicinho pass.

Sevilla retained their place at the top of the Spanish first division with a 3-1 win at Real Sociedad.

Last season's UEFA Cup winners went ahead after just eight minutes with Br azilian striker Renato finishing off a counter-attack by the visitors to the Basque country.

Frederic Kanoute added a second for Sevilla, the third consecutive game in which he has scored, 15 minutes before the end, before both teams got a goal apiece in injury time.

It was a good night for clubs from Seville against Basque teams on Sunday.

Real Betis won 3-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao, going in at half time well in the driving seat thanks to two first half two goals from close range by Juanito Gutierrez and Edu before 'Capi' Capitan put the game beyond any doubt with Betis' third seven minutes from time.

Getafe also retained their unbeaten record with a 1-0 win over Racing Santander, with Daniel Guiza getting the only goal of a scrappy game just before the hour.

Samuel Eto'o, last season's top scorer in the Spanish first division, got two goals within half an hour as the reigning Spanish champions Barcelona romped to a 3-0 win over Osasuna on Saturday, their second successive league win this season.

Eto'o went from scorer to service provider for Barca's third goal 10 minutes later, finding Argentine teenager Lionel Messi free in the Osasuna penalty area.

Valencia, twice champions in the last five years, also notched up their second successive victory with a 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid later on Saturday.

David Villa got Valencia's winner after just seven minutes but both teams ended the game with 10 men.

Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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