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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug, 12, 2006

Van Nistelrooy sparkles for Real Madrid

SALT LAKE CITY -- Real Madrid's latest superstar addition seems to be fitting in well. Ruud van Nistelrooy scored on a penalty kick and assisted on a goal in Real Madrid's 2-0 win over namesake Real Salt Lake in an exhibition game Saturday. Madrid ended its two-game U.S. tour 1-0-1, three days after tying D.C. United 1-1 in Seattle. Although Saturday's win was a shutout, the game was scoreless until van Nistelrooy's goal just before halftime as Real Salt Lake kept "Los Galacticos" from pulling away early. "What I've seen after playing these two teams is the level of the league is very good," Madrid defender Michel Salgado said. Robinho also scored for Madrid off a touch pass from van Nistelrooy, the latest All-Star to join Madrid. The big Dutchman came over in a trade with Manchester United last month and showed he will fit in just fine in the Spanish capital. Van Nistelrooy finished with four shots before leaving the game in the 73rd minute. "I'd take a few of their players," Salt Lake coach John Ellinger said. "It was a great experience." Real Salt Lake had been wanting to get Madrid here ever since naming the MLS expansion club after the European superstars two years ago. "You can't be scared against a team like that because they'll punish you," Salt Lake midfielder Chris Klein said. The so-called "friendly" got a little nasty at times Saturday, with plenty of collisions and jersey tugging and a red card issued to Salt Lake's Atiba Harris in the 58th minute. Harris was ejected for taking out Sergio Ramos by sliding into the Spanish defender with his cleats high. There was a little jostling after the play as Ramos stayed down, but tempers cooled before Harris was led off the field and the game resumed. About seven minutes later, Robinho took a pass from van Nistelrooy and easily knocked it passed Salt Lake goalkeeper Jay Nolly. Robinho had just been stopped by Nolly on a point-blank shot after a dazzling push up the field, when he controlled the ball from about midfield on and faked out Salt Lake's Kevin Novak several times. Madrid's David Beckham, the biggest draw of the week to events open to fans, didn't play until the second half, and the pace of camera flashes picked up noticeably. Beckham had a free kick in the 86th minute and the ball bounced high off the wall of Salt Lake players standing together to block it. Nolly, a halftime substitution for Scott Garlick, ran over his own player while going for the loose ball as the 2-year-old Salt Lake club started to look outclassed. Garlick saved four of the five shots he faced in the first half, but guessed wrong on the penalty kick by van Nistelrooy in the 45th minute. Salt Lake's Willis Forko was called for tackling Antonio Cassano from behind, and Madrid was awarded a penalty kick. Van Nistelrooy took the shot and poked the ball passed Garlick, who dove to his right as the ball went to his left. Klein was unsure about whether Madrid deserved a penalty kick, but was diplomatic about it. "Hey -- they put you in compromising positions. They force you to do things you don't want to do," Klein said.

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