Madrid, Aug 30 (DPA) Expensive debutants Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka were overshadowed by Lassana Diarra and Raul in Real Madrid’s tight 3-2 opening win over Deportivo Coruna.
Ronaldo did score from a penalty, but Real needed an opening goal from Raul and a winner from Diarra to break the resistance of Deportivo, who twice came from behind and threatened to spoil the fiesta in the Estadio Bernabeu here Saturday.
Starting the game with seven new signings, Real coach Manuel Pellegrini said that he was “happy with the way that the team played”.
Pellegrini added that “the team is balanced with (midfielders) Diarra and Xabi Alonso. We have four forwards who interchange amongst themselves very well.”
Alonso, one of Real’s seven debutants, said: “The important thing is the three points.”
“The team is not at 100 per cent yet, but little by little we will get to know each other better. Now we just have to take it one game at a time.”
Deportivo coach Miguel Angel Lotina said: “I cannot ask for more from my players. They played a magnificent game, and I am going to congratulate them on it.”
Ronaldo, the most expensive player in the world, did little apart from scoring from the penalty spot.
Kaka looked more sure of himself and set up the first goal in the 27th minute. His classy pass set up fellow newcomer Karim Benzema, whose shot hit the post – and there was Raul, as ever, to push in the rebound.
No matter how much money Real spends on new strikers, Raul continues to be first-choice.
Just four minutes later, Deportivo forward Riki made it 1-1 by heading in a free-kick from Juca.
In the 34th minute, Raul was pulled down by the nervous Aranzubia, and Ronaldo made it 2-1 from the penalty spot.
Without suspended Pepe and injured Christoph Metzelder, Real looked edgy in defence, and Deportivo veteran Juan Carlos Valeron scored his team’s second goal straight after half-time after being put through by Andres Guardado.
Valeron missed an excellent chance to make it 3-2 to the visitors, who were punished for their naivety on the hour when Diarra hit the winner.
Fielding no less than seven new signings, Real just about deserved their win, though they were begging for the final whistle at the end.
The game was watched by sprinter Usain Bolt, who received a warm welcome from the Madrid crowd.
Later Saturday, Zaragoza beat fellow newcomers Tenerife 1-0 on a late goal from Javier Arizmendi, who was their top scorer last season in the second division.
Defending champions Barcelona kick off their Liga campaign Monday at home to Sporting Gijon. They will be without star striker Lionel Messi, who left to prepare for next week’s Argentina-Brazil clash straight after Friday’s 1-0 defeat of Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Super Cup.