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Lazio hold Real at the Stadio Olympico

Ruud van Nistelrooy strikes for Real Madrid while Goran Pandev stars for Lazio in a match billed as a 'David vs Goliath' tie.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Rome
UPDATED ON OCT 04, 2007 02:50 PM IST

Real Madrid were twice pegged back by Lazio in their Champions League Group C clash which ended 2-2 at the Stadio Olympico at Rome on Wednesday.

It was a case of doubles all round with Ruud van Nistelrooy responsible for Reals' goals and Goran Pandev starring for Lazio in a match billed rather unkindly given Lazio's performance as a 'David and Goliath' clash by one of the Italian sports papers.

Real went into an eighth minute lead when van Nistelrooy turned in a free-kick from the left with his left foot for his 51st goal in the competition.

The move was started with Lazio defender Guglielmo Stendardo's ill-judged challenge on Arjen Robben.

Stendardo turned from villain to hero just after the half hour mark, when he was instrumental in the m ove that led to the equaliser, heading the ball into the path of Pandev.

The Macedonian striker struck it first time, his stunning left-footed volley leaving Real 'keeper Iker Casillas no chance whatsoever as the ball shot past him high into the net.

Van Nistelrooy, who had scored in Real's opening 2-1 win over Werder Bremen, kept Lazio keeper Marco Ballotta on his toes with a couple of well placed shots early in the second half.

And the Dutch master striker duly bagged his double in the 61st minute when he latched on to Raul's throughball to coolly chip over the out-rushing Marco Ballotta from the edge of the penalty area.

Real's former Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze picked up the first and last yellow card of the game before Lazio coach Delio Rossi made two changes, bringing on Lionel Scaloni and Stephen Makinwa for Valon Behrami and Tommaso Rocchi respectively.

Real held on to their advantage until the 75th minute when Lazio for the second time drew back level when Pandev's left-footed strike just inside the post escaped Casillas' desperate dive.

The Spaniard's manager Bernd Schuster made some last minute substitutions in a bid to regain the initiative but to no avail.

The result pushed Real up to four points, level with Olympiakos, 3-1 winners over Werder Bremen, with the Greeks inheriting the Group C lead on goal difference.

Lazio lie third on two points with Werder Bremen pointless and bottom.

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