Real Madrid 2 Atletico Madrid 1: Real call on Raul Bravo and cast aside Ronaldo

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The Independent Online

Do not adjust your sets might be the appropriate message for any Leeds fans tuning in to watch Arsenal take on Real Madrid this Wednesday when they see who the Spaniards have sent out to mark Thierry Henry - the former Leeds United utility player Raul Bravo.

The 25-year-old has been in the Real side since the first leg, when Henry destroyed Madrid with his blistering pace. He was one of the stars of Saturday's derby win over Atletico and looks set to keep his place in the team for his first game in England for three years when he will go head-to-head with Henry.

"Two weeks ago I wasn't expecting to play. But now I might be one of the players asked to stop him," Raul Bravo said, referring to the Frenchman. He gets the nod, in part, because of the continuing injury problems of Jonathan Woodgate and it is not the first time he has replaced the England centre-back.

When Woodgate left Leeds for Newcastle in 2003 it was Raul Bravo who stepped in. He tried and failed, occasionally spectacularly, to fill his predecessor's boots. Indeed, on one particularly difficult afternoon at Anfield he was taken off at half-time having been run ragged by Liverpool's Michael Owen. He never played fort Leeds again.

The Spanish international will hope to do better replacing Woodgate this time. "We know that Arsenal depend on Henry a lot", he said. "And stopping him is going to be the key to beating them."

Raul Bravo mastered the highly rated Fernando Torres on Saturday as Real's victory over Atletico went smoothly enough. The Oasis song Don't Look Back in Anger blared out over the public announcement system ahead of the game and although it was meant as a homage to the outgoing president, Florentino Perez, it could just as easily been a plea to the fans. The famous white handkerchiefs of discontent were poised and ready to be waved as Real faced their fierce city rivals at the end of a week when Perez had quit, complaining of players behaving like spoilt children.

"You are not guilty, it is the mercenary players who are to blame" read one banner as the supporters backed the board and rounded on the under-performing stars. But Ronaldo was dropped and his replacement, Antonio Cassano, scored and was man of the match as Real came out on top.

Cassano put Real in front in the fourth minute with a simple header from a Roberto Carlos cross and Julio Baptista bundled in the second five minutes before half-time from David Beckham's centre.

That goal restored Real lead after Mateja Kezman's equaliser and showed that Beckham is in fine form ahead of his return to London. He collected a pass from Zinedine Zidane, beat his man and teed up Baptista with a perfect centre.

It was a case of all's well that ends well - at least until Wednesday when Arsenal and the formidable Henry are the opponents and Raul Bravo gets his real test.

Real Madrid (4-1-4-1): Casillas; Salgado, Helguera, Bravo, Carlos; Gravesen; Beckham, Guti (Diogo, 83), Baptista, Zidane (Robinho, 77); Cassano (Raul, 73). Substitutes not used: D Lopez (gk), Cicinho, Mejia, Juardo.

Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Franco; Velasco, Pablo, Pera, A Lopez; Varlera (Galletti, 6), Luccin, Gabi, Petrov; Torres, Kezman. Substitutes not used: Cuellar (gk), Molinero, Calvo, Colsa, Moreno, Del Moral.

Referee: M Cantalejo.

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