Thu, Oct 21, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Ronaldo-inspired Real see off feeble AC Milan

TOOTHLESS:Milan’s aging squad was no match for the La Liga club as Real continued their perfect start with three wins, keeping a firm grip on the group’s top spot

REUTERS AND AFP, MADRID

Real Madrid’s coach Jose Mourinho, right, gestures next to AC Milan’s coach ­Massimiliano Allegri on Tuesday during their Champions League Group G match at the Santiago ­Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.

Photo: REUTERS

Cristiano Ronaldo netted a freekick and set up a goal for Mesut Ozil less than a minute later as Real Madrid overwhelmed fellow European giants AC Milan 2-0 to seize control of Champions League Group G on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho’s young Real side, playing with energy and pace, dominated an aging and lackluster Milan team and cemented their place at the top of the group with a maximum nine points from three matches.

After a fast-paced opening 10 minutes with few clear chances, the in-form Ronaldo struck in the 13th minute with a fierce freekick that flew through the Milan wall.

With the visitors reeling, he then sprinted in from the left wing to feed Ozil on the edge of the penalty area and the German international’s first-time shot ballooned up off the back of central defender Daniele Bonera and into the net.

“The commitment, the work rate, the concentration — the team was fantastic,” Mourinho said in a television interview.

“Our goal is to stay top of the group and if we don’t lose to Milan in the return match we’ll be well on our way to qualifying,” added the Portuguese, who left for Madrid after leading Milan’s city rivals Inter to a treble of Champions League and Italian league and cup triumphs last season.

Real, who went top of La Liga over the weekend, are flying in their bid for a 10th title in Europe’s elite club competition and have yet to concede a goal in this year’s edition.

Seven-time European champions Milan, by contrast, are level on four points with Ajax Amsterdam at the halfway stage of the group phase and in danger of missing out on a place in the last 16.

Tuesday’s match at a boisterous Bernabeu stadium was briefly interrupted in the first minute when an intruder ran on to the pitch. The man, wearing a blue Superman t-shirt, evaded security guards for around 20 seconds before being felled by a hefty kick and dragged away.

When play got under way again, Milan were unable to cope with Real’s superior strength and speed and quickly fell two goals behind.

Andrea Pirlo, one of six players in Massimiliano Allegri’s starting 11 aged 30 or over, was the first of the visitors to threaten the home goal as late as the 29th minute.

Iker Casillas had to be alert to keep out the midfielder’s firmly struck freekick before former Real player Clarence Seedorf blazed over from a good position wide on the left.

That was as good as it got for Milan and in the second half Real’s front four created a string of chances, with Gonzalo Higuain, Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria all going close to a third.

A toothless Milan, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexandre Pato laboring up front, rarely threatened.

In related news, two AC Milan fans were detained, and several others were injured, in Spain on Tuesday on the sidelines of Real Madrid’s win over the Italian side for clashing with police, Spanish media reported.

The clashes began when a Milan fan struck a policeman with a flagpole near Real’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium, the online edition of sports daily AS reported.That triggered a fight between a group of Milan fans and police, it said.

AJAX 2, AUXERRE 1

AFP, AMSTERDAM

Four-time champions Ajax ignited their push for a place in the Champions League knockout phase with a 2-1 win at home to Auxerre on Tuesday.

The result moved Martin Jol’s side level on points with second-placed AC Milan in Group G, while Auxerre’s hopes of securing even a consolation place in the Europa League by finishing third now appear seriously compromised.

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