Football: Toshack's reign starts with loss

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"I WISH the game had lasted exactly 90 minutes." Those were the words on Saturday evening in Seville of John Toshack, who had seen his return to Real Madrid ruined by an injury-time winner for Real Betis.

The 3-2 defeat was the Welshman's first game in charge of the Spanish giants since he left the Turkish club, Besiktas, last week to rejoin Real Madrid, with whom he won the title in 1990 during his first spell as coach.

"We had so many opportunities, eight clear chances," Toshack added, "and we should have got at least three or four of them." After Madrid's Fernando Morientes had missed a sitter, Fernando Sanchez put Betis ahead from a cross by Benjamin Zarandona.

Raul, scrambling the ball home following a Clarence Seedorf corner, equalised for Madrid before the break. Betis went back in front midway through the second half through Juan Canas, but Madrid were soon back on terms when Morientes shot through the goalkeeper Toni Prats' legs.

Ito Alvarez, a Betis substitute, denied Morientes with a goal-line clearance on the stroke of full-time and, deep into injury time, he sent a 20-yard shot screaming past the Madrid goalkeeper, Bodo Illgner, for his first goal of the season. "It was impossible to come back after that. There was too little time," Toshack said.

The former Liverpool striker now has to remedy his side's faults before Wednesday's European Cup quarter-final first leg against Dynamo Kiev. Real Madrid are seventh in the Primera Division, seven points behind the leaders, Barcelona, who were surprisingly beaten 4-2 at home by Valencia.

In Italy, the Yugoslav libero Sinisa Mihajlovic struck a dramatic winner as Lazio shrugged off a missed penalty and the dismissal of Dejan Stankovic to win 2-1 at Vicenza yesterday and open up a four- point gap at the top of Serie A.

With the scores level at 1-1, Lazio's hopes of an 11th victory in 13 matches looked to have disappeared when the Chilean striker Marcelo Salas hit the post with a 73rd-minute penalty and Stankovic was sent off eight minutes from time. But Mihajlovic's 90th-minute freekick deflected off the legs of Giacomo Dicara in Vicenza's defensive wall and into the net for a last-gasp victory.

Sergio Conceicao had put Lazio ahead early in the second half but Giuseppe Cardone equalised for Vicenza. Lazio are four points clear of Parma, 3- 1 winners over Perugia, and Fiorentina, who needed an 86th-minute goal from Moreno Torricelli to salvage a 1-1 draw at Salernitana.

The Brazilian striker Elber struck twice as the German league leaders, Bayern Munich, crushed Hansa Rostock 4-0 away to make Bundesliga history on Saturday.

Bayern became the first club since the top division started 36 years ago to record five successive league wins without conceding a goal. The other goals came from Carsten Jancker and the veteran sweeper, Lothar Matthaus.