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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 11, 2006

Hat-trick hero Ruud rues ones that got away

MADRID, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Ruud van Nistelrooy was left rueing missed chances despite getting off the mark for his new club Real Madrid with a hat-trick in Sunday's 4-1 win at Levante.

The former Manchester United striker opened the scoring in the 17th minute, added a second just after the break and made up for missing an 85th-minute penalty with a third in stoppage time.

'It was a good day and an important win because we have a tough game against (Olympique) Lyon in the Champions League on Wednesday,' the Dutchman told reporters after the game.

'We have gained confidence but I missed a penalty, which is really bad, and the keeper stopped another good chance of mine.'

After a goalless draw at home to Villarreal in their opening Primera Liga match, Real found their feet against a hapless Levante, who finished the game with nine men.

Van Nistelrooy's goals helped dispel some of the worries that had existed about Real's abilities up front, with Brazil striker Ronaldo still working on his fitness after a minor knee operation.

After two rounds of matches, Sevilla top the Primera Liga on goal difference from Barcelona, Getafe and Valencia - the four sides with six points.

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