Real Madrid beats Auxerre 1-0 in Champions League

Substitute Angel Di Maria scored a late winner as Real Madrid

won 1-0 at Auxerre in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Right back Alvaro crossed from the right in the 81st minute and

Di Maria controlled it with his chest and beat goalkeeper Olivier

Sorin with a powerful shot.

Madrid defender Sergio Ramos appeared to control the ball with

his hand before passing to Alvaro to cross for the goal.

”The goal came when we were on top and not in trouble,”

Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez said. ”The goal came just after their

defender hit the post and it’s a shame the handball was not


Auxerre defender Cedric Hengbart insisted Ramos handled the ball


”He lost control of it and seeing the ball was going away from

him, he stuck his hand out,” Auxerre defender Cedric Hengbart

said. ”We knew we would have chances if we got behind their

defense. It’s just a shame we couldn’t score.”

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has won his opening two games in

Europe with his new club. He is looking to become the first coach

to guide three teams to the Champions League title after winning

with Inter Milan last season and Porto in 2004.

”We knew it would be a very hard game, I prepared it well

tactically and Jean Fernandez prepared his team very well,”

Mourinho said. ”They had a lot of control in midfield, it’s very

important for us to get the points here. A draw would have been a

fair result given how well Auxerre played. Six points is very

important in a hard group.”

Auxerre striker Irineusz Jelen went clean through in the 62nd

but hurried his shot as defender Pepe tracked back and it went


Pepe almost scored an own goal with 10 minutes left by heading

Kamel Chafni’s cross against the post.

Mourinho’s Madrid wasted several chances after lengthy spells of

possession in an entertaining game.

Madrid tops Group G with two wins and six points, while AC Milan

is second with four points after drawing 1-1 at Ajax, which has one

point. Auxerre has lost both games and is last.

”We played well in both games against Milan and Madrid, so

we’re not missing that much,” Fernandez said. ”The regret is that

we hit the post, if that had gone in it could have been a different

match and we may have beaten Real Madrid.”

Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain’s effort was cleared off the line

by midfielder Kamel Chafni following Cristiano Ronaldo’s

15th-minute corner, and Higuain fluffed a better chance late in the

first half by missing from close range.

”We have 10-15 chances a game. Higuain, Benzema, Ronaldo are

all great players but they’re not very confident at the moment,”

Mourinho said, lamenting his team’s poor finishing after last

weekend’s 0-0 draw with Levante. ”We need to be more dynamic in

attack and we need the players to be more confident. They’re

fantastic, it’s a question of time.”

Ronaldo, with only one goal from the penalty spot this season,

could not get past Sorin despite several attempts.

Fernandez started with Jelen on the bench because he was still

hampered by a knee problem, while France striker Karim Benzema

started in attack with Higuain and Ronaldo for Mourinho’s team.

The early exchanges were even with Dennis Oliech going close for

Auxerre when he forced Iker Casillas to rush off his line and kick

the ball clear in the fourth minute. The ball bounced back off

Oliech but rolled out of play just before he could tap it into an

empty net.

Ronaldo forced Sorin to make a two-fisted save with a stinging

shot from the edge of the penalty area moments later.

But Auxerre also looked dangerous from set pieces and Delvin

Ndinga’s header from Benoit Pedretti’s 25th-minute free kick

flashed just wide of the post with Casillas well beaten.

Sorin kept out Marcelo’s effort and then watched as Lassana

Diarra broke into the penalty area and blasted wide.

Although Madrid mostly dominated possession, Auxerre still

threatened and Casillas made a great save to keep out Pedretti’s

fierce strike from just inside area moments before the


Jelen replace Roy Contout after the break, but Madrid quickly

pinned Auxerre back into its half.

Fernandez’s team gradually got back into the game, with the

Morocco midfielder Chafni impressing with his work-rate and

superbly crisp passing. Chafni’s cross in the 57th was poorly

cleared by Sergio Ramos and fell to Oliech, who blasted the ball


Benzema, who never lost at Auxerre when he used to play for

French side Lyon, was kept well quiet and Mourinho took him off

after 60 minutes, replacing him with Germany midfielder Mesut


”Benzema has enormous potential, but mentally he needs to play

with more ambition and character,” Mourinho said.

After Jelen’s near miss, Madrid rushed up the other end and

Ronaldo’s shot brought another good save from Sorin.