Cristiano Ronaldo gave fans what they wanted at the first football match at Dodger Stadium, scoring one goal and aiding another in Real Madrid¿s 2-1 friendly win over Everton.
Cristiano Ronaldo dazzles at Dodger Stadium in Real Madrid's 2-1 win over Everton
More then 40,000 spectators turned out at the 51-year-old baseball stadium nestled in the hills north of downtown Los Angeles, and the first football goal in the venue's history went to one of the game's greats when Ronaldo scored in the 17th minute.
He had chipped a volley from the centre of the area over the crossbar in the 10th minute, but made no mistake on his next chance, when a crisp ball from Mesut Ozil brought Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard out of his goal and Ronaldo got round him to slide an angled shot into the open net.
"It was a little bit strange because we didn't play in a football stadium, but the atmosphere, the tradition of this stadium is outstanding," the Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
"To be in this stadium with such fantastic history is very good for us."
Ancelotti did not address the Gareth Bale transfer saga. Tottenham Hotspur's Welsh star, 24, is reportedly set to complete a world-record move, valued at around €100 million (Dh487.8m), to Real Madrid next week.
Instead, Ancelotti voiced confidence in his current group of players.
Pressed as he was hustled out of a media conference as to whether Bale would indeed play for Real Madrid, Ancelotti quipped that perhaps Bale would wind up in baseball.
The frenzy of speculation over Bale has not hampered Real Madrid's pre-season campaign. They have now won four and drawn one of five pre-season matches.
Ozil doubled Real Madrid's lead in the 31st minute after taking a pass from Ronaldo.
The Spanish side's second goal came a minute after Sylvain Distin appeared to score a header for Everton, but the goal was disallowed because of a foul.
Everton also saw a golden opportunity go begging in the 24th minute, when Marouane Fellaini's header off a corner kick ricocheted off the right post.
Second-half substitute Nikica Jelavic scored in the 61st minute for Everton, but the English Premier League club were unable to find an equaliser even as they began to play more confidently in the closing stages.
The victory sends Real Madrid into the title match of the International Champions Cup, an eight-team friendly tournament that will end on Wednesday in Miami.
They will face the winner of yesterday's late match at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, between Chelsea and AC Milan.
"Chelsea or Milan, for me it is the same," Ancelotti said. "I trained Chelsea, I trained Milan, it will be a special game."
Everton manager Roberto Martinez, whose team booked their meeting with Madrid via penalty shoot-out win over Juventus, said he was pleased with how his players responded after falling behind.
He noted that playing a team of Real Madrid's quality and reputation could leave a side "starstruck".
"All of a sudden you're not doing things as well as you can do," he said. "I thought the first 20 minutes we were a little like that, we were a little bit anxious ... slowly we got to grips with the game and started to be ourselves."
In the second match of Saturday's Dodger Stadium double-header, Los Angeles Galaxy shocked two-time reigning Italian champions Juventus 3-1.
Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez scored for the Galaxy, while Alessandro Matri scored for Juventus.
Gonzalez and Donovan had both missed Galaxy's 3-1 loss to Madrid in their opening match of the tournament because of their participation in Major League Soccer's All-Star game. Keane was back after missing the Madrid match with a hip injury.
He entered at the start of the second half and delivered a pass to Donovan for the go-ahead goal in the 60th minute, and added an insurance goal in the 89th.
Gonzalez had given Galaxy the lead in the 36th minute, but Matri, who missed two early opportunities, levelled the score just three minutes later when he slammed home a loose ball from close range.
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