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21/10/2010

Real in Champions League revenge win over Milan

MADRID (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo made it five goals in his last three matches as Spanish league leaders Real Madrid defeated AC Milan 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday to take command of Champions League Group G.

It was an epic tussle between the two most successful European teams, who have 16 European Cups between them, and nine-time winners Real came out on top.

Two goals in as many first-half minutes helped Real make it a perfect three Group G wins and Jose Mourinho's side are now five points clear of Milan and Ajax.

Ronaldo fired a 13th minute free-kick through a hopeless Milan wall for his first Champions League goal of the season and a minute later German international Mesut Oezil saw his deflected shot go in.

"We knew we were taking on an experienced team but we are more concentrated against the better teams," said Ronaldo.

"We played well especially in the first half and we are in great shape at the halfway point of the group stage."

It was sweet revenge for Real, who lost 3-2 to Milan at home in last season's group stage, and Mourinho's Real have yet to concede in this season's competition and are unbeaten in all competitions.

"It was a fantastic performance and I can only say congratulations to my players and hope the Real fans are happy with what they saw," said Mourinho.

"We have nine points but of course we want to be first in the group and to achieve that we have to continue winning matches."

Real captain Iker Casillas set a Champions League appearance record for a goalkeeper, playing his 104th game in the competition to overtake former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

In stark contrast Milan had debutant Marco Amelio in their goal with the 28-year-old, on loan from Genoa, making his bow due to an injury to first-choice Christian Abbiati.

Spanish league leaders Real had scored ten goals in their last two league matches and scored two goals in as many minutes to continue their rich vein of form.

After the disturbance of a pitch invader the match got underway and on 13 minutes Xabi Alonso was man-handled outside the area to give Real a dangerous free-kick.

Ronaldo has been wasteful with free-kicks this season but found his range, shooting straight through a terrible Milan wall that collapsed to give Amelio no chance.

A minute later Madrid struck again with Ronaldo feeding Oezil, whose shot on goal looked to be heading into the goalkeeper's arms before taking a wicked deflection off defender Daniele Bonera to loop in.

"We had goalscoring chances but you have to do more than we did to hurt Real Madrid," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"The first quarter hour was crucial. They scored two goals and we didn't know what to do."

Milan were up against it but upped their game and Andrea Pirlo hit the crossbar on 26 minutes before Clarence Seedorf, who won the 1998 Champions League as a Madrid player, hit a swerving shot over the crossbar when well-placed.

After the break a flicked effort from Angel di Maria almost made it 3-0 for Real, who were not content to sit on their lead.

Milan introduced Brazilian winger Robinho for the ineffective Ronaldinho in the 72nd minute.

The home fans jeered the former Real player, who spent three seasons at the club before falling out with then coach Bernd Schuster and engineering a 42-million-euro move to Manchester City.

Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a half chance for Milan before Robinho forced a fine diving save from Casillas as Real kept another clean sheet and have conceded a meagre three goals in ten games under Mourinho.

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