Fri, Jan 07, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Zidane scores winner for new coach

CRUCIAL GOAL Real Madrid moved into third place in the La Liga after Zinedine Zidane slotted home a penalty to give new coach Venderlei Luxemborgo his first win

AGENCIES , MADRID AND LONDON

Real Madrid's Brazilian striker Ronaldo, left, and English David Beckham, right, congratulate French Zinedine Zidane after he scored a penalty kick against Real Sociedad during the last six minutes of their match on Wednesday. These six minutes were replayed as the Dec. 12 match was interrupted due to a bomb-threat call.

PHOTO: EPA

Zinedine Zidane helped Vanderlei Luxemburgo get off to a dream start as Real Madrid coach when he scored the winner to give his side an incredible 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad in a frantic seven-minute mini-match at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

The French midfielder scored the crucial goal after team mate Ronaldo had been brought down in the area four minutes into a match that had to be completed 24 days after the original fixture was abandoned because of a bomb scare.

The result means that Real move up into third place in the table, level on points behind second-placed Valencia and 10 adrift of league leaders Barcelona.

The game marked a wonderful debut for Luxemburgo, who was appointed as Real coach after the club unexpectedly sacked his predecessor Mariano Garcia Remon last week.

The Brazilian will go down as one of the few coaches in footballing history to take charge of a team midway through a match and celebrate by guiding his team to a morale-boosting victory.

In the first game Ronaldo put Real ahead against the run of play with an acrobatic strike on the turn just three minutes before halftime.

But Sociedad got a deserved equalizer in the second half when live-wire Turkish forward Nihat Kahveci scored with a carbon copy strike and were on top when the game was halted.

The second round of the game was a different matter altogether and Real showed a new desire and verve.

The match restarted with a goal kick for Sociedad, but the visitors quickly lost control of the ball and it was Real, roared on by 15,000 fans who had been given free access to the stadium, who piled on the pressure.

Striker Fernando Morientes, who was given a rare start ahead of Michael Owen, had a couple of half chances in the first two minutes, but it was a hopeful kick forward from midfielder Guti that helped decide the game.

Ronaldo managed to control the ball, raced into the area, unleashed a couple of trademark step-overs and was brought down by a desperate challenge from Sociedad fullback Mikel Labaka.

Referee Vicente Lizondo Cortes had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Zidane fired his spot kick inside the right-hand post to score the winner.

Fulham vs Southampton

Former England striker Kevin Phillips was on target twice but Southampton had to settle for a point in a 3-3 draw with Fulham on Wednesday which left the Saints still rooted in relegation trouble.

It was only Southampton's second point from the hectic four-match Christmas schedule and it also left manager Harry Redknapp, whose son Jamie was making his debut, waiting for his first victory.

In a thrilling first-half, Fulham snatched the lead in the 20th minute when Papa Boupa Diop edged a free-kick from Mark Pembridge past Antii Niemi in the Southampton goal.

But within 50 seconds of the restart, the Saints were level when Phillips beat the offside trap to head home a cross from Fabrice Fernandes.

Eight minutes later Phillips was on target again to give Southampton the lead.

Fulham striker Tomasz Radzinksi was caught in possession by Jamie Redknapp who released Phillips. The former England man then nipped past the challenges of Zeshan Rehman and Zat Knight to curl a low shot past Edwin van der Sar from 18 meters.

However, the Londoners were level just two minutes before half-time when Niemi parried a Luis Boa Morte drive which fell to Steed Malbranque who volleyed home from 15 meters.

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