Real end tour with easy win over Thai U-23 side

BANGKOK: Real Madrid ended their pre-season tour on a high note yesterday with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Thailand’s Under-23 team. 

Zinedine Zidane opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the seventh minute after striker Michael Owen was fouled by Thai defender Suree Sukka in the area. 

The Spanish giants never looked troubled and delighted the crowd with some slick play before Brazilian striker Ronaldo extended the lead in the 23rd minute off a long range pass from Raul. 

Real coach Wanderley Luxemburgo made wholesale changes for the second half, with Portuguese winger Luis Figo and Brazilian leftback Roberto Carlos taking the field. 

The visitors were not as dominating in the second half and both teams had chances to score before Ruben de la Red completed the rout three minutes from full time with a firm header past Thai goalkeeper Kosin Hathairattanakul. 

The organisers had promised to donate 200,000 baht (US$4,786) for each goal Real scored, with the money going towards a fund helping victims of last December’s Indian Ocean tsunami. 

Almost 5,400 people died and another 2,817 are still missing after the tsunami devastated Thailand’s southwest coast. 

Thailand was the final destination of Real’s lucrative pre-season tour. In their earlier outings, Real beat Beijing Hyundai 3-1, defeated J-League team Jubilo Iwata 3-1, lost 0-3 to Tokyo Verdy, overcame Mexico’s Chivas 3-1 in Chicago and scored a 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy. 

Strict security measures were enforced at the stadium with about 1,000 police officers assigned to patrol the area. Checkpoints were installed at all entrance gates to search for weapons, while some police with bomb detectors were on hand. 

Due to the heavy security, thousands of fans were still lining up to enter Bangkok’s 60,000-seat Rajamangala National Stadium when the opening whistle blew. – AP  

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