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Owen off the mark for Madrid

Tuesday, 19 October 2004

By Andy Hall at the Santiago Bernabéu

[1] Michael Owen scored his first goal for his new employers as Real Madrid CF scraped a 1-0 win against FC Dynamo Kyiv to sidle up alongside the Ukrainain side in Group B - but influential winger Luís Figo picked up an injury.

Close group

[2] Owen, who joined from Liverpool FC in the summer, turned in Ronaldo's cross on 35 minutes to claim what proved the decisive goal, but not long before Figo had been taken off clutching his thigh. Dynamo did have a perfect record before today, but are now level with Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Madrid on six points.

Madrid reshuffle

[3] Madrid coach Mariano García Remón was forced to reshuffle his side with defender Walter Samuel suspended and David Beckham recovering from a fractured rib. Guti, who was a doubt before the match with a thigh sprain, started in a left-sided midfield role. Zinedine Zidane and Raúl González played in the centre of the park while Owen and Ronaldo paired up in attack. Visiting coach Joszef Szabo was unable to field suspended striker Maris Verpakovskis and opted for Maksim Shatskikh to play behind Kleber.

Shovkovskiy saves

[4] Both teams made their intentions known from the off but it was Madrid who caused the first scares of the evening. Ronaldo, free on the left, cut inside to unleash a high drive that was palmed into touch by Olexandr Shovkovskiy. Dynamo's keeper was back in action moments later to tip a low Figo effort around the post.

Woodwork denies Zidane

[5] Dynamo responded with Diogo Rincón curling the ball just over on ten minutes but most of their approaches were foiled by Madrid's central defensive pair of Iván Helguera and Francisco Pavón. At the opposite end, Zidane watched a long-range free-kick ricochet off the post, then Raúl brushed the post with a fierce, low drive.

Figo injury

[6] Madrid's rhythm was broken when Figo left the field with an injured thigh just before the half-hour, and the visitors, suddenly inspired, responded with a low Shatskikh effort that whizzed past an outstretched Iker Casillas and wide of the post. Then Míchel Salgado extended a boot to deny Kleber, and soon after Madrid scored. Santiago Solari, on for the injured Figo, raced forward and left the ball to Ronaldo, who whipped in a low cross that was tucked home from close range by Owen.

Goalkeepers in action

[7] Both goalkeepers maintained their inspirational form at the start of the second half, pulling out saves to keep the scoreline down. First Casillas flung himself to parry a Kleber shot then Shovkovskiy came off his line to block from Ronaldo. Soon after, Shatskikh, loitering at the far post, smashed a half-volley that Salgado did well to deflect.

Dynamo pressure

[8] The visitors pressed, sensing that Madrid had started to flag, but the home side looked dangerous on the counterattack and could quite easily have doubled their tally with Owen just unable to connect with a sweeping Solari centre just after the hour. Kleber and Shatskikh menaced at the other end but Madrid's rearguard stood firm.

Victory confirmed

[9] Pavón prevented a Dynamo equaliser with ten minutes to go, blocking on the line, but Madrid pressed for a second with Roberto Carlos shooting wide in the dying minutes and Solari pushing his way into the box only for Shovkovskiy to save once again. Madrid held on, and the position in the group should make for a fascinating return match on 3 November.

Michael Owen and Ronaldo combined for Madrid's goal