Ramos makes perfect start
Juande Ramos began his reign at Real Madrid with a win as Los Blancos secured a 3-0 success over Zenit.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 10/12/08 10:05pm
Juande Ramos began his reign at Real Madrid with a win as Los Blancos secured a 3-0 success over Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Champions League.
The evergreen Raul bagged a brace at the Santiago Bernabeu, while Arjen Robben saw his endeavours rewarded with a goal of his own.
Keen to impress their new boss, Real took control of proceedings early on and never looked liked allowing their opponents a route into the game.
Pavel Pogrebnyak was unfortunate to be halted by a linesman's flag inside the first few minutes, but Zenit were disappointing on the whole.
Dick Advocaat's side were found wanting in the final third, while their Spanish counterparts looked like a side desperate to make amends for their continued domestic woes.
Marcelo, keen to bomb forward at all times, fired narrowly wide early on while Gonzalo Higuain sent a curling effort just over the top as Real grew in confidence.
Then, on 25 minutes, the breakthrough came as Vyacheslav Malafeev spilled Rafael van der Vaart's harmless cross and goal-poacher supreme Raul was on hand to stab home.
Robben proved to be a thorn in Zenit's side throughout the first half and the Dutchman was unfortunate not to get his name on the scoresheet after a couple of lively bursts down the left.
He did not have to wait long, though, as five minutes after the break he was sent scampering clear by Raul and lifted a delightful effort over the onrushing Malafeev with the outside of his left boot.
The former Chelsea man was then at the heart of the action once again on 57 minutes as he dissected the Zenit defence with an incisive through-ball for Raul to scoop a third into the top corner.
Higuain then fluffed a glorious opportunity to add another soon after, but fired into the side netting with a host of his team-mates lining up in the middle.
Substitute Pavel Nekhaychik, on a rare breakaway from the visitors, threatened to ruin Real's clean sheet with a fierce low drive just after the hour-mark, but Jerzy Dudek was equal to the effort and diverted the ball onto the face of the crossbar.
Robben stretched Malafeev again as the seconds ticked away, but the game had already been over for some time.
Real march into the knockout stages, but only as Group H runners-up, while Zenit, having claimed third spot, will have the opportunity to defend their Uefa Cup crown in the New Year.
|Real Madrid||Team Statistics||Zenit St Petersburg|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|12||Shots on Target||2|
|9||Shots off Target||4|