Beckham makes a scoring return

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David Beckham was back playing football last night and he made a goal-scoring return to the Real Madrid first team, inspiring a 5-1 Spanish cup win over the Third Division side Ecija.

Starting his first home game since the opening day of the season, Beckham capped an energetic display by initiating the scoring shortly after half-time, rifling a left-foot drive through a crowded six-yard box after Ruud van Nistelrooy's shot had been parried.

Real, who had drawn the first leg of the tie, never looked like scoring during the first half but after Beckham's goal the minnows collapsed. Ronaldo added a second after 68 minutes and Van Nistelrooy converted a penalty four minutes later.

Beckham then set up Van Nistelrooy for his second goal after Mario Carrizosa had scored a consolation for Ecija. The midfielder Ruben De La Red made it 5-1 with a shot from the edge.

Beckham picked up an 87th-minute booking for a high challenge but in only his second full 90 minutes of the season he did enough to push for a place back in Real's first team for their visit to Osasuna on Sunday.

Beckham's lack of first-team chances with Real has led to his being linked with a move either back to the Premiership or to Major League Soccer in the United States. Reports last night added Blackburn Rovers to the list of clubs who would consider courting the former England captain should he decide to leave Madrid.