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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 8, 2008

Van der Vaart shines on debut for Real Madrid

Rafael Van der Vaart scored on his Real Madrid debut as the Spanish champions recorded a 2-1 comeback victory against Colombian side Santa Fe at the El Campin Stadium in Bogota on Thursday.

Madrid goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was forced into early action to deny Venezuelan Luis Seijas and Cesar Valoyes before Real were reduced to 10 men when defender Michel Salgado was sent-off after 20 minutes following a strong tackle on Yulian Anchico.

The home side took advantage of their numerical advantage as Argentinian striker Daniel Neculman, who had earlier seen a shot cleared off the line by Mahamadou Diarra, handed the home side a half-time lead after converting Alejandro Bernal's cross.

But following the second half introduction of Holland midfielder Van der Vaart, who signed from Hamburg on Tuesday, Madrid came to life.

Van der Vaart had a goal ruled out for handball 10 minutes after his introduction, but the 25-year-old secured a goalscoring debut as his 74th minute free-kick from the edge of the area pulled Madrid level.

And just 60 second later, Van der Vaart picked out substitute Pepe, who broke into the area and sealed the win for Bernd Schuster's side.

Real next travel to Germany to face Eintracht Frankfurt on August 12 before taking on Valencia in the season opening Supercopa.

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