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Although Ruud van Nistelrooy was disappointed his fifth UEFA Champions League goal this season did not ensure dominance over FC Bayern München at the Santiago Bernabéu last night, the Dutch striker remains upbeat.
Madrid had been leading the first knockout round, first-leg tie by 3-1 thanks to two goals from team-mate Raúl González and one from Van Nistelrooy. It was the latter's 48th UEFA Champions League goal but he has fallen further behind all-time leading marksman Raúl after he made it 56 strikes in the competition. Regardless, perhaps the most telling goal of the evening came in the 88th minute when Mark van Bommel hit Bayern's second. "It was disappointing that one went in because 3-1 would have been a fantastic result for us," Van Nistelrooy told uefa.com.
Despite the setback of conceding two away goals, Van Nistelrooy felt Madrid, with David Beckham pulling the strings, showed character to bounce back after some criticism surrounding the team's domestic showings of late. "To play in these big games is always fantastic and we gave a great performance tonight," he said. "We scored three goals in the first half and we have to make sure that we play as well as that when we go to Munich for the return leg."
Van Nistelrooy warned that Bayern will feel confident that they can seal their progress to the quarter-finals at home on 7 March. "They'll have to come at us in Munich if they want to go through. They have to beat us but that last goal will give them hope," said Van Nistelrooy before adding: "Tonight's performance will give us the hope and the courage to go to Munich determined to get through to the next round."
Having only scored once in his last five Primera División outings, the striker has been finding the net with more regularity in the UEFA Champions League. "I don't know why that is," he said with a grin. "Every game I play I try to produce the same things as I did today."
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