Van Nistelrooy, Raul give Real win over Werder

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MADRID, Sep 19 (Reuters) Real Madrid continued their excellent start to the season by beating Werder Bremen 2-1 in their Champions League Group C opener.

Raul put the home side in front with a header after 16 minutes, taking his record haul in the competition to 57, but the lead only lasted a minute before Werder's Boubacar Sanogo levelled on a swift break.

Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy settled the game in Real's favour 16 minutes from time yesterday, making up for a host of missed chances.

Real dominated throughout and celebrated their 300th game in Europe's elite competition with a fourth consecutive win of the season.

It was a cagey opening in the Bernabeu with Real controlling possession and the visitors looking to counter-attack quickly.

The game opened up when Van Nistelrooy cut inside his man on the left of the area, and crossed low for Raul to stoop and head inside the near post.

But Real were caught flat-footed a minute later when Dusko Tosic broke down the left and crossed into the area, for Sanogo to poke the ball past Iker Casillas with an outstretched boot.

Werder's Markus Rosenberg forced Casillas to save with his foot soon after, but the pressure was soon back down the other end.

Twice Van Nistelrooy was dispossessed with the ball at his feet in front of goal, and Gonzalo Higuain shot narrowly wide, as Real linked up well with some slick passing.

CASILLAS SAVES Casillas saved a fierce drive from Daniel Jensen before the break, and Diego's runs caused problems on the few occasions that Real's grip on the game slipped.

After 67 minutes, Werder goalkeeper Tim Wiese just got his hand to Raul's attempted lob and Van Nistelrooy missed two more great chances to score before making amends.

Raul's clever pass left the Dutchman clear on goal and he sent Wiese the wrong way as he closed, firing low into the corner.

Real's 36 million-euro signing from Chelsea, Arjen Robben, came on for his debut near the end and almost made it a perfect experience with a goal.

But the Dutch winger fluffed his chance as Real threatened to overwhelm the Germans.

REUTERS BJR BST1017

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