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Real Madrid let BATE off lightly
September 18, 2008 04:54 IST
Newcomers BATE Borisov got away lightly with a 2-0 defeat against Real Madrid [Images] at the Bernabeu in their Champions League debut in Group H on Wednesday.
Sergio Ramos [Images] gave the nine-times European champions an early lead and they threatened an avalanche of goals but BATE held firm until early in the second half.
Ruud van Nistelrooy [Images] doubled the advantage with his 54th goal in the competition and any thoughts of a fightback by the team from Belarus effectively disappeared when defender Anri Khagush was sent off soon after.
BATE battled away but the gulf in class was clear and only Real's profligacy in front of goal and a string of saves from Sergei Veremko prevented a heavier defeat.
"Seeing the start we made I expected us to score more goals so I am disappointed. After our first goal we could see BATE could not react, and we needed to have scored a second and third at that point," Real coach Bernd Schuster said.
"As it was we had to start all over again. I didn't like the way we eased off. You should ask the players whey they did, not me. I didn't want them to."
The Belarus champions started very nervously and the home side took full advantage, slicing them open at will in the opening minutes.
It was surprising it took until the 11th minute before Real took the lead with a neat corner move.
The ball was played low to the edge of the area for Guti who quickly found an unmarked Ramos at the far post, and the Spain full back sidefooted home.
Instead of pressing on though Real eased off to the annoyance of an impatient Bernabeu, and the visitors recovered some composure.
Schuster appeared the more anxious of the two coaches regularly stalking the technical area up to halftime, though BATE's threat was restricted to long-range shots and the occasional freekick.
After the break, Real showed a greater urgency and the second goal came when Raul fired goalwards and Veremko saved point blank.
The ball rebounded off one of his defenders and Dutch striker Van Nistelrooy tapped in the loose ball in the 57th.
Soon after, BATE lost Khagush when he collected his second yellow card for another foul on Arjen Robben, who had given him a torrid time all night.
Substitute Gonzalo Higuain shot wide in a one-on-one as Real dominated, but they were unable to find a third despite having an extra man, and the team were whistled off at the end.
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