Luxemburgo gets off to winning start at Real

Agence France Presse

Madrid, January 6:

Real Madrid and Real Sociedad managed to finish their match almost a month after they started, and the hosts made the most of their second chance by grabbing a late winner for a 2-1 victory here on Wednesday.

Goals from Ronaldo and Nihat Kahveci had left both sides level pegging when the match had to be suspended on December 12, but a Zinedine Zidane penalty gave Madrid coach Wanderley Luxemburgo a winning start at his new club. The two teams played out the

final two minutes and 40 seconds of regulation time and another four minutes of injury time after referee Vicente Lizondo Cortes had no choice but to call a halt first time around after an apparent bomb threat from the Basque nationalist group ETA.

“We showed complete concentration and great motivation,” said Luxemburgo after the bizarre finale, which saw Real Sociedad make a round trip of 700 miles for just a few minutes of football and only to return empty-handed.

Luxemburgo decided to unnerve the visitors and throw everything at the San Sebastian side from the outset, in a game started by a goal kick from Real Sociedad goalkeeper Asier Riesgo.

Luxemburgo opted to start with Fernando Morientes alongside Ronaldo rather than England striker Michael Owen. It looked like an inspired decision when the unsettled Spanish international, who had not started a game all season, had the first Real chance after barely two minutes. Riesgo managed to save his side on that occasion but the constant pressure forced defender Mikel Labaka to bundle Ronaldo to the ground a minute into injury time, and Zidane stepped up to convert from the spot.

Real Madrid climb two places to third and now have 32 points from 17 games. However, the 29-times Spanish champions are still 10 points behind their arch rivals and runaway league leaders Barcelona.

English Premiership

LONDON: A late own-goal by Fulham’s Liam Rosenior salvaged a 3-3 draw for Southampton in a relegation battle between Premier League strugglers.

Rosenior’s own-goal came in the 71st minute, just 20 minutes after Tomasz Radzinski gave Fulham a 3-2 lead to open the second half at St Mary’s stadium in Southampton.

Papa Bouba Diop put Fulham ahead 1-0 in the 20th, but Saints captain Kevin Phillips equalised in the 21st and then put his side ahead in the 29th. Fulham’s Steed Malbranque levelled for Fulham in the 43rd.

Southampton manager Harry Redknapp started his son, Jamie, who signed with his father’s team on Tuesday after leaving Tottenham. Redknapp joined the Saints on a free transfer and was his father’s first signing in the January transfer season.

Fulham improved to 22 points and moved into 15th place, ahead of Blackburn on goal difference. Southampton improved to 15 points and stayed in 19th place in the 20-team first division.