Ronaldo, Ozil lead Real Madrid past Everton 2-1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the 17th minute and set up Mesut Ozil’s goal 14 minutes later, leading Real Madrid to the final of the International Champions Cup with a 2-1 victory over Everton on Saturday night.
Ronaldo and Ozil starred in the first football game played at the 51-year-old Dodger Stadium, keeping Real Madrid unbeaten in its preseason friendlies.
Second-half substitute Nikica Jelavic scored in the 61st minute for Everton, which gave a solid challenge to the Galacticos. Tim Howard, Everton’s American goalkeeper, made a handful of brilliant saves to keep Real Madrid from increasing its lead.
The inaugural International Champions Cup matches seven European teams and MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy in an exhibition tournament.
The final is Wednesday night in Miami, where Real Madrid will face the winner of Chelsea’s meeting with AC Milan outside New York on Sunday.
Just two weeks away from the season opener in La Liga, Real Madrid had more than enough talent to overcome Everton. The Toffees reached the semifinals earlier in the week with a surprise win in San Francisco over two-time defending Serie A champion Juventus, which faced the Galaxy in the second game at Dodger Stadium.
In preparation for football’s debut in Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers flattened their pitchers’ mound and spread temporary grass over the infield and warning track.
Dodger Stadium has hosted the Beatles, a papal Mass, eight World Series and 52 Dodgers seasons, but had never converted its baseball-specific field into a soccer pitch.
Everton’s Catalan coach, Roberto Martinez, acknowledged the game was a valuable chance to test his side against the world’s best. While his team looked good for stretches, particularly around Real’s penalty area, the Toffees’ defense was repeatedly caught scrambling when its offside trap was beaten.
While Ronaldo was the crowd’s favorite, German national team midfielder Ozil was named the man of the match.
Ronaldo broke between two defenders for a golden chance in 10th minute, but the Portuguese star tried to volley Ramos’ long pass and saw his shot fly well over Howard’s goal.
Ronaldo scored when poor marking and a sharp pass from Ozil left him alone in Everton’s penalty box, where he faked Howard to the ground and tapped home for the first goal in Chavez Ravine history.
Everton had plenty of early chances as well. Marouane Fellaini’s header glanced off the post in the 24th minute, and Sylvain Distin’s apparent goal on a header six minutes later was waved off for a foul in the box.
Ronaldo and Ozil then slipped behind Everton’s defense again, with Ronaldo putting a pass on Ozil’s right foot for another goal.
Ronaldo’s solid outing ended when he was substituted 13 minutes into the second half.
Moments after Howard made a dramatic leaping stop, Everton narrowed the deficit when Steven Naismith headed into the middle for Jelavic, whose flying kick rattled between goalkeeper Diego Lopez and the post.