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Ronaldo nets first Madrid goal

CRISTIANO Ronaldo notched his first goal for Real Madrid in a 4-2 victory over Liga de Quito in the Peace Cup yesterday.

Playing his third game for the Spanish powerhouse since his €94 million (US$131 million) transfer from Manchester United, Ronaldo converted a 48th-minute penalty after being tripped in the area by defender Norberto Araujo.

The Portuguese star also set up the second goal in the 53rd, his low shot parried by Liga goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez into the path of another Madrid recent signing, Esteban Granero.

Liga, whose coach Jorge Fossati was ejected from the bench for protesting the penalty award, replied in the 68th when Enrique Vera headed the ball home from close range.

Defender Christoph Metzelder headed Madrid's third goal from Granero's corner three minutes later, and moments later Ronaldo was replaced by Lassana Diarra.

Vera doubled his tally in the 87th with a powerful header, only for another substitute and Madrid newcomer, Alvaro Negredo, to seal the hosts' win in injury time.

Madrid, which lost Arjen Robben through injury in the 43rd, will face Juventus in Seville on Friday in the semifinals of the 12-team offseason tournament, with the final taking place two days later.

With Madrid needing to win at a half-full Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to advance, new Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini picked an offensive lineup, with Ronaldo joined by another newcomer, Karim Benzema, together with Robben and Gonzalo Higuain.

Kaka, the second most expensive signing in Madrid's €214 million (US$300 million) spending spree since Florentino Perez regained the presidency last month, was not considered after only beginning training with Madrid on Monday.

Liga, which won last year's Copa Libertadores for the first time, was cheered on by a large section of Ecuadoreans who saw their team twice come close in the first half through Claudio Bieler and Vera, both in the 39th.

Ronaldo fired a dipping free kick wide two minutes earlier, leaving Liga goalkeeper Jose Francisco Cevallos largely untroubled before being replaced by Dominguez at halftime.


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