Beckham's sublime touch inspires Real

Numancia 1 - Real Madrid 2

A superbly struck free-kick from David Beckham and some outstanding keeping from Iker Casillas helped Real Madrid on their way to a narrow 2-1 win over
La Liga basement side Numancia and stopped them losing further ground over leaders Barcelona last night.

A superbly struck free-kick from David Beckham and some outstanding keeping from Iker Casillas helped Real Madrid on their way to a narrow 2-1 win over La Liga basement side Numancia and stopped them losing further ground over leaders Barcelona last night.

The England captain broke the deadlock in an evenly balanced game 18 minutes into the second half when he sent a 30-yard free-kick arcing over the wall and viciously swerving away into the far corner beyond the reach of Numancia's flailing goalkeeper Antonio Nuñez. Beckham's spectacular free-kick was his fourth goal of the season.

His England colleague Michael Owen, making a rare start because Ronaldo had rushed back to Brazil to be at the side of his ill brother on the eve of the game, was unable to add to his tally, but he helped secure the victory with a magnificent through-ball for the defender Michel Salgado to score Real's second.

Real had the better of the early possession but it was not until the 10th minute that they managed to create any danger. Luis Figo fired a deflected shot against the base of the post after cutting in between two defenders and Owen sent his follow-up shot over the bar from five yards out.

Although Numancia have the poorest scoring record in the top flight, they gave Real several scares in the following minutes. Striker Luis Tevenet was denied by an outstanding full-stretch save from Iker Casillas in the 18th minute when he fired in a stinging shot from the edge of the area after Juanlu had danced his way through the Real midfield.

Real struggled to contain the lively Numancia forwards and a nervous Helguera conceded a penalty just after the half hour when he climbed all over Miguel Perez as he tried to clear the ball from the area. But Casillas came to the rescue once more when he guessed right and smothered Tevenet's low drive from the spot.

The penalty miss appeared to settle Real and they started to stretch the Numancia defence in the closing minutes of the first half, Figo almost giving them the lead when he skimmed the post with powerful long-range drive.

Owen hit the woodwork in the 49th minute with a cross which landed on top of the bar, but it was not until Beckham delivered his perfectly struck free-kick that Real were finally able to settle a little. Salgado made it 2-0 seven minutes from time when he slotted past Nuñez after powering his way on to Owen's precision pass.

Numancia grabbed a late consolation when the striker Miguel Lopez headed in after a free-kick three minutes from time.

Goals: Beckham (63) 0-1; Salgado (83) 0-2; Lopez (87) 1-2.

Numancia (3-5-2): A Nuñez; Antonio, Palacios (Lee Chun-soo, 82), Molina; Pignol, Tevenet, Sanz, Tarantino, Juanlu (Pineda, 71); Perez, Lopez. Substitutes not used: Juanma (gk), Graff, Ros, M Nuñez, Merino.

Real Madrid (4-4-2): Casillas; Salgado, Samuel, Helguera, Roberto Carlos; Beckham, Gravesen, Figo (Guti, 71), Zidane (Portillo, 85); Raul (Solari, 79), Owen. Substitutes not used: Cesar (gk), Pavon, Bravo, Celades.

Referee: M Hernandez.

Attendance: 9,500.

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game