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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Verdy shocks Real Madrid


Staff writer

Tokyo Verdy beat a lethargic Real Madrid 3-0 in a friendly match on Monday, with goals from Daigo Kobayashi, Washington and Takuya Yamada giving the second-from-bottom J. League side a famous victory over the embarrassed Spanish giant.

A surprisingly small crowd of 30,125 was at Ajinomoto Stadium to see Madrid's galacticos in action. Whether they wanted to be on the pitch, though, was debatable. Not counting the lively England contingent of David Beckham and Michael Owen, Real's superstars never got going.

Spain's Raul was anonymous; Brazil's Ronaldo disinterested at best. Zinedine Zidane lasted just 33 minutes before an injury saw him replaced by Guti.

Real coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo expected his team to struggle.

"It was the tour and fatigue. Real did not do well," he said. "After 10 minutes we realized we couldn't give a 100 percent performance today.

Verdy went ahead on six minutes, Kobayashi giving 'keeper Iker Casillas no chance from close range after a deflected through ball found the 22-year-old unmarked.

Real's first attack came on 10 minutes. Beckham fed Owen on the left, but the ball wouldn't come down for the former Liverpool man as he skewed his shot wide.

But Real couldn't sustain the pressure, with Verdy's much-maligned defense -- the team had conceded 26 goals in its last six games -- easily handling Madrid's foray's forward.

Brazilian Washington made it two in the 26th minute, coolly sliding the ball home past the advancing Casillas after good work from Yamada. And so a bizarre situation arose.

The home side had managed to silence the home crowd by going two goals up.

Real's best chance of the half came after 33 minutes, Owen's glancing header from a Beckham inswinger parried by Yoshinari Takagi in the Verdy goal.

Verdy killed all hopes of a Real comeback early in the second half.

A corner from Kobayashi on 53 minutes was met by a diving header from midfielder Yamada which appeared to take a slight deflection that deceived Casillas.

Verdy coach Nobuhiro Ishizaki was happy but still found fault with his players.

"Our team did well, but there were unnecessary bad passes . . . I want our players to be more speedy," Ishizaki said.

It has been reported that Real's Harlem Globetrotters-style jaunt around the U.S. and Asia will boost the the club's coffers to the tune of $25 million.

Before last night's insipid performance, it appeared the Spanish League side had been earning its cash as it coasted to wins in its first three tour games.

Half-hearted Inter

MILAN, Italy (AP) Inter Milan, which initially canceled its preseason tour of England over fears of terrorist attacks, has brought only half its first-choice team.

The only regular starting players included are Obafemi Martins, Marco Materazzi, Sinisa Mihajlovic and Dejan Stankovic. Eleven squad players have been joined by 10 players from Inter's developmental squad.



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