La Liga: Van Nistelrooy grabs hat-trick

September 10, 2006

MADRID, Sept 10 (Reuters) - New signing Ruud van Nistelrooy scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid sealed a first league victory of the season with a 4-1 thrashing of Levante on Sunday.

The Dutch striker got off the mark with a well judged shot on the turn in the 17th minute and scored another early in the second half after a neat headed assist from his former Manchester United colleague David Beckham.

He looked to have missed his chance of a hat-trick when he fluffed a penalty after he had been brought down in the area in the 85th minute, but made up for the error with a classy finish in stoppage time.

Levante, managed by former Real Madrid coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, ended with nine men after French defender Frederic Dehu was sent off before the half-hour and midfielder Diego Camacho followed him five minutes from time.

In-form Sevilla, who crushed Levante 4-0 in their opening match, made it two wins out of two with a 3-1 victory at Real Sociedad, Mali striker Frederic Kanoute getting on the scoresheet again with his side's second.

Bernd Schuster's Getafe also maintained their 100 percent record with a 1-0 win at home to Racing Santander, a well-taken winner coming from Daniel Guiza on the hour.

The two sides share the lead of the fledgling table with Barcelona and Valencia who are also on six points after winning their games on Saturday.

Spanish and European champions Barca brushed aside Osasuna 3-0 at the Nou Camp, while Valencia edged a 1-0 victory at Atletico Madrid.

Van Nistelrooy was involved in practically all the action at Levante, opening the scoring when he turned and squeezed a low shot inside the far post from the edge of the area after a neat one-two between Antonio Cassano and Mahamadou Diarra.

Cassano scored what was only his second league goal since joining the club last January 10 minutes later when he clipped home at the second attempt after Beckham had swept a long pass into the area from inside his own half.

Levante defender Dehu was sent off for dangerous tackle on van Nistelrooy two minutes later, but the home side managed to pull a goal back before the break when midfielder Felix Ettien fired a shot under keeper Iker Casillas.

Real coach Fabio Capello gave Jose Antonio Reyes his debut after the break and the former Arsenal player had a hand in his side's third when he picked out the unmarked Beckham with a neat pass from the left.

The former England captain nodded the ball across to Van Nistelrooy who controlled with his chest before tucking a shot past keeper Pablo Cavallero.

Cavallero saved a Van Nistelrooy penalty five minutes from time, but the Dutchman collected his hat-trick when he dinked the ball over the Argentine's head after Brazilian full back Cicinho had whipped in a fine cross from the right.