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By ESPN Staff

Beckham scores in return to action with Real

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- David Beckham scored in his return to Real Madrid Saturday in its Spanish league game at Real Sociedad.

Beckham, making his first start since Dec. 20, tied the match in the 37th minute with a low, bending free kick from outside the area which skidded off the wet surface and beat diving Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

The halftime score at Anoeta stadium was 1-1.

Beckham's comeback represented a reversal by Madrid coach Fabio Capello, who said last month that the former England captain would never again play for the Spanish powerhouse team.

Beckham annoyed Capello by announcing on Jan. 11 that he would leave for the Los Angeles Galaxy when his contract expires in June. Madrid had offered the midfielder a two-year extension.

On Friday, Capello said he had initially believed Beckham wouldn't train or play with the same intensity but the player had worked very well in training this week.

Since Beckham was dropped, Madrid has lost two of four league games and has been eliminated from the Copa del Rey, piling pressure on Capello.

The Italian coach reportedly could be fired if Madrid lost against Sociedad.

Madrid is in fourth place in the league with 38 points, five behind leader FC Barcelona. Madrid also plays Bayern Munich in the second round of the Champions League on Feb. 20 and March 7.