Real starts Champions League with win

BY foxsports • September 15, 2010

Real Madrid gave coach Jose Mourinho a winning start at his new club in the Champions League, scoring a goal in each half to beat Ajax 2-0 in Group G on Wednesday.

Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso's corner was deflected in by Ajax defender Vurnon Anita to make it 1-0 in the 31st minute.

Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain was well placed at the far post to put the ball in the net from a cross by midfielder Mesut Oezil in the 73rd minute.

Mourinho led Inter Milan to last season's Champions League trophy at the same Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Madrid is hoping he can deliver a record 10th European Cup and first since 2002.

"Mourinho is (a) somebody. I think he will do the same now (with Madrid)," Ajax coach Martin Jol said.

The Portuguese coach, who is bidding to win the title for a third time, was denied a more emphatic victory margin due to Madrid's poor finishing.

"It looked like boys against men tonight," Jol said. "They clearly dominated the game."

Cristiano Ronaldo remained scoreless for the season so far as Madrid failed to convert its dominant play into goals. It launched 35 shots to the Dutch club's eight, with Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg making 14 saves.

"We pressed a lot and we didn't let Ajax play how they like to play," Mourinho said. "My forwards just weren't sharp in front of goal."

But the Netherlands keeper was helpless to stop the own-goal opener, and while he blocked a hard shot by Oezil at the left side he couldn't get across to deny Higuain's volley for the second goal, which finally settled an anxious crowd.

The Bernabeu fans paid tribute to U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal before kickoff and were soon encouraged by the nine-time champion's strong start.

Higuain threatened with a hard shot into the side netting in the 13th and a weaving run produced an effort that dipped off the top of the bar four minutes later.

Oezil swapped passes with Angel Di Maria along the right in the 24th but the Argentina forward's low shot was saved.

Di Maria curled over the bar after Higuain missed Marcelo's well-placed pass inside the area in the 33rd, and Stekelenburg denied Ronaldo just before the break as Madrid peppered Ajax's goal with 17 shots.

Ooijer backtracked to deflect Higuain's shot wide to open the second half, while Stekelenburg made a fine stop on Ronaldo in the 51st after the Portugal forward burst into the area alone.

Stekelenburg stopped Di Maria's rising drive soon after with Higuain sending the rebound wide as Mourinho paced the sidelines with his team unable to pull away.

Ronaldo flashed a shot wide in the 66th as whistling filled the stadium, but Higuain eventually provided relief.

"The best solution would be for him to score two or three goals in a game he plays poorly in," Mourinho said of Ronaldo, adding of the team that, "Goals will come. I'm not worried."

In the other Group G game, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as AC Milan beats Auxerre 2-0.
 


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