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Higuaín strike puts Madrid on top

Published: Thursday 26 November 2009, 0.46CET
Real Madrid CF 1-0 FC Zürich
Gonzalo Higuaín scored the only goal of the night midway through the first half to take Los Merengues three points clear in Group C.
by Paul Bryan
from Santiago Bernabéu

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Match statistics

Real MadridZürich

Goals scored1
 
0
Attempts on target7
 
2
Attempts off target7
 
3
Corners14
 
1
Offsides5
 
1
Fouls committed17
 
8
Yellow cards2
 
3
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:21 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Thursday 26 November 2009, 0.46CET

Higuaín strike puts Madrid on top

Real Madrid CF 1-0 FC Zürich
Gonzalo Higuaín scored the only goal of the night midway through the first half to take Los Merengues three points clear in Group C.

Real Madrid CF moved a step closer to the UEFA Champions League first knockout round after a narrow victory over FC Zürich earned by Gonzalo Higuaín's first-half strike.

Higuaín decisive
The Spanish Liga leaders, starting play level with AC Milan on seven points at the Group C summit, struggled to create chances against a disciplined Zürich side who had conceded five to the same opponents on Matchday 1 but were breached just once here, Higuaín scoring 21 minutes in. While Madrid were further boosted by the return from injury of Cristiano Ronaldo, their success marked the end of the valiant Swiss champions' European season, the draw between Milan and Olympique de Marseille consigning them to bottom place in the pool.

Early salvos
Facing a packed defence in the early stages, Madrid were forced to probe patiently for an opening and when space was afforded to Kaká just outside the visitors' area, the Brazilian fired a goalbound shot that brought a flying save from Johnny Leoni. Milan Gajić swiftly countered for Bernard Challandes' men but his weak effort was easily fielded by Iker Casillas and play swung back down the other end, Xabi Alonso thundering an attempt wide of the upright.

Madrid pressure
Zürich coach Challandes had spoken of his desire to spring a surprise, yet just when it seemed his team's supporters were beginning to believe, Madrid took what proved to be a decisive lead. Slipping away from midfielder Alain Rochat, Kaká quickly spotted Higuaín's forward run and delivered a through pass which the Argentinian collected and slid low past Leoni. The Merengues almost doubled their advantage when Higuaín's right-wing corner drifted all the way across to Marcelo whose volley looked goalbound only to hit an upright and bounce away to safety.

Ronaldo cheer
Manuel Pellegrini's side continued to pressurise with little in the way of penetration after the restart, so it was activity from the touchline that brought the loudest roar from the home crowd with Ronaldo emerging from the dugout to warm up. The winger had not appeared in a white shirt since suffering an ankle injury against Marseille on 30 September.

Leoni saves
With the 24-year-old taking much of the attention, fellow substitute Rafael van der Vaart did his best to wrap up the points when he connected with Marcelo's cross, Leoni making a solid stop. Following Ronaldo's eventual, 70th-minute introduction in place of Raúl González, the Portuguese international produced gasps of expectation from supporters each time he touched the ball and almost put Van der Vaart through on goal after combining well with Kaká in a central position.

Late chances
Zürich's Silvan Aegerter could do no more than blast over the crossbar as the game headed towards a close, while Madrid would have further decorated the scoreline had Ronaldo managed to direct his effort on target or had Van der Vaart kept his shot down. Higuaín had already done enough, however, leaving Madrid needing a point in Marseille on Matchday 6 to make sure of progress.

Last updated: 27/11/12 11.08CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000028/match=2000432/postmatch/report/index.html#higuain+strike+puts+madrid

Lineups

real madrid

Real Madrid

zürich

Zürich

1
CasillasIker Casillas (GK)
1
LeoniJohnny Leoni (GK)
2
ArbeloaÁlvaro Arbeloa
Substitution58
5
MargairazXavier Margairaz
3
PepePepe
7
AegerterSilvan Aegerter
4
RamosSergio Ramos
12
AlphonseAlexandre Alphonse
Substitution86
7
Raúl GonzálezRaúl González (C)
Substitution70
13
StahelFlorian Stahel
Yellow Card65
8
KakáKaká
Substitution90
14
DjurićDušan Djurić
Yellow Card63
Substitution88
10
L. DiarraLassana Diarra
Yellow Card61
16
P. KochPhilippe Koch
12
MarceloMarcelo
19
RochatAlain Rochat
18
AlbiolRaúl Albiol
20
GajićMilan Gajić
Substitution76
20
HiguaínGonzalo Higuaín
Goal21
21
BarmettlerHeinz Barmettler
Yellow Card56
22
Xabi AlonsoXabi Alonso
Yellow Card83
30
TihinenHannu Tihinen (C)

Substitutes

13
DudekJerzy Dudek (GK)
32
GuatelliAndrea Guatelli (GK)
6
M. DiarraMahamadou Diarra
2
LampiVeli Lampi
9
RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo
Substitution70
8
VonlanthenJohan Vonlanthen
Substitution76
11
BenzemaKarim Benzema
11
NikciAdrian Nikci
19
GarayEzequiel Garay
25
MehmediAdmir Mehmedi
Substitution86
23
Van der VaartRafael van der Vaart
Substitution58
26
M. BüchelMartin Büchel
24
GraneroEsteban Granero
Substitution90
27
SchönbächlerMarco Schönbächler
Substitution88

Coach

Manuel Pellegrini (CHI) Bernard Challandes (SUI)

Referee

Alain Hamer (LUX)

Assistant referees

François Mangen (LUX), Christian Holtgen (LUX)

Fourth official

Albert Toussaint (LUX)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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