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Raul hits hat-trick in 7-2 romp by Real
( 2003-09-14 10:27) (Agencies)

Spanish international striker Raul helped himself to a classy hat-trick as Real Madrid ran riot at the Bernabeu to produce a 7-2 destruction of a disappointing Valladolid in a first division match on Saturday.

"We were absolutely horrific in defence," said Valladolid coach Fernando Vazquez. "We didn't start playing until they were 3-0 up and Real Madrid will kill you on the counter-attack."

But Deportivo Coruna, the only side in the division who have yet to drop a point, retained top spot in the table thanks to a 2-1 win away to Sevilla with goals coming from Uruguayan striker Walter Pandiani and substitute Diego Tristan.

Saturday's results left Depor top on nine points, two ahead of defending champions Real and four ahead of last season's runners up Real Sociedad who claimed their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory away to Racing Santander.

Real began the match at the Bernabeu in positive mood, pinning Valladolid back in their own area and putting together a series of slick passing moves.

Valladolid keeper Albano Bizzarri produced two fine early saves to deny first Ronaldo and then Raul from putting Real ahead, but he was powerless to stop the home side taking the lead in the next attack.

Former Real Madrid defender Julio Cesar, who joined Valladolid on loan at the beginning of the season, sent his team mate the wrong way when he got his head to a wild shot from Ronaldo and sent it ballooning over the keeper into the net.


Real got the breakthrough they wanted but it was skipper Raul, who had been criticised for his slow start to the season, who produced a virtuoso performance that put the game beyond doubt before halftime.

His first came with a marvellous improvised aerial back-heel when he somehow managed to get his foot to a neat cross from Luis Figo and send it curling over Bizzarri into the far corner just after the half-hour mark.

Two minutes later he controlled a curling pass from Roberto Carlos with his chest and then caught the unfortunate Bizzarri off guard as he scooped the ball over his head and into the net.

David Beckham, who had another fine game at the heart of the Real midfield, provided the scoring pass for Real's fourth.

The former Manchester United man swung in a fine curling cross from the right over to the far side of the area where Zinedine Zidane met it with a perfect volley to put Real 4-0 up.

The England captain blotted his copybook, though, a few minutes later when he handballed a free kick in the area, allowing Valladolid striker Roberto Losada to pull one back from the penalty spot.

A frantic three minutes followed with Luis Figo scoring from the penalty spot at the other end when he was brought down by Cesar and just over a minute later midfielder Chema reduced Real's lead once more when he nodded in from close range.

Beckham had a hand in Real's sixth goal when he threaded a ball through the Valladolid defence for Ronaldo who checked past one defender, cut inside towards the area and curled a superb shot inside the far post.

But it was left to Raul to wrap up an easy win 15 minutes before the final whistle.

The striker pounced on the ball after Bizzarri spilled a Michel Salgado shot, dribbled the ball towards the open net and finished with a flourish as he back-heeled across the line.

It was Raul's 158th league goal in his 10 seasons as a Real Madrid player and allowed him to overtake famed Hungarian striker Ferenc Puskas to become the fourth highest scorer in the club's history.

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