Real get the better of BATE
Real Madrid booked their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League after beating BATE Borisov.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 25/11/08 10:28pm
Real Madrid have booked their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League after beating BATE Borisov 1-0.
Raul's early strike proved the difference as the Spanish champions sealed their spot in the next round after Group H rivals Zenit St Petersburg failed to beat Juventus in Tuesday's earlier game.
BATE twice squandered chances to draw level in the second half in what was an evenly-contested match at the Borisov Gradski Stadium.
The start of the match saw BATE supporters throwing snow balls at the Real Madrid players, but their attempts to intimidate the away side proved unsuccessful as the men in white threw an avalanche onslaught at the Belarusian champions in the opening 15 minutes.
With Ruud van Nistelrooy out injured, Javier Saviola was handed a rare start and the diminutive Argentine headed narrowly wide from a couple of yards three minutes into the match after Royston Drenthe whipped over a left-footed cross.
The home side did not learn from the early warning as Real stormed ahead three minutes later when Drenthe's tame cross found its way past three defenders and Raul was on hand to score his 64th European goal.
The prolific marksman took advantage of some dire defending and controlled expertly, before smashing the ball off the crossbar and in to score his first goal of the current campaign.
Bernd Schuster's men continued to dominate as BATE continually gave the ball away cheaply and Saviola went close again on 17 minutes when he hit the target.
BATE were unable to get a foot on the ball, but that did not stop the home side from flying into tackles in a fiery opening period.
The Belarusian side's tenacity earned them a spell of possession and they carved out their first sights at goal through Aleksandr Volodko and Vitali Rodinov, but neither efforts troubled Real keeper Iker Casillas.
Drenthe then had a chance to put the away side further ahead when he beat the offside trap, but the Dutchman wasted an opportunity to score and Vitali Kazantsev managed to get a last-ditch tackle in.
The second half started in unspectacular fashion until the hour mark when Gennadi Blizynuk's left-foot drive narrowly missed the top-left corner for BATE as the home side looked to get back on level terms.
Blizynuk then missed a glorious chance to put his side back into the game after substitute Mikhail Sivakov's back-heel found the forward, but Blizynuk could only send his effort wide.Real brought off Guti, Raul and Saviola in the latter stages as the Primera outfit shut up shop and the nine-times winners ended up with the three points as they booked their place in the knockout stages.
|BATE Borisov||Team Statistics||Real Madrid|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|1||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||6|