Seville 2 Real Madrid 1: Beckham beaten and booked, but back to his best form

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The Independent Online

Victoria Beckham may have been busy looking at property in Los Angeles but her husband, David, does not look ready for Major League Soccer just yet. There were few bigger games in Europe at the weekend than Real Madrid's visit to Seville and there were few better performances than the former England captain's.

Recalled for his fourth league start of the season, Beckham responded with an impressive midfield display capped by a fine 30-yard free-kick. But, despite his good work, Real were sent back to the capital pointless as Seville's incredible form continued.

Juande Ramos's side remain a little known quantity outside of Spain due to their amazing sequence of results last season coming too late to squeeze them into the Champions' League. But they are the Uefa Cup holders, European Super Cup holders and serious La Liga title contenders.

Roared on by the loudest home crowd in Spain, who blasted out the club hymn and held lighted sparklers as their team took the field, Seville went for the visitors from the off but were stunned when Beckham scored after 13 minutes.

Real were awarded a free-kick on the left-hand edge of the penalty area after Ruud van Nistelrooy had been obstructed. Seville expected a cross from Beckham, who had Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo waiting in the box. Instead he whipped a 30-yard free-kick straight into the top corner of Andres Palop's goal.

Seville responded within just four minutes as Luis Fabiano rocketed a shot against Iker Casillas' bar and the former Tottenham striker Frédéric Kanouté was the first to the rebound to score his 10th goal of the season.

Beckham carried the fight to the home side after the break, combining with Van Nistelrooy to set up Ronaldo, who missed a one-on-one with Palop. That proved costly, as with 13 minutes left the Uruguayan substitute Ernesto Chevanton spectacularly scissor-kicked Seville in front from the edge of the six-yard box.

Real brought on their Arsenal loanee Jose Antonio Reyes, whose every touch was cheered to the rafters by home fans who still have enormous affection for the winger they sold to the Gunners in 2003.

Seville held on to leapfrog Real in the table and the Madrid side must now get their title campaign back on track next week, when they travel to Espanyol.

They will have to do so without the rejuvenated Beckham, however: his second-half booking was his fifth of the season, earning him a one-match ban.

l Ronaldinho continued his rich vein of striking form for Barcelona when he scored his 11th La Liga goal on Saturday in the 1-0 win against Real Sociedad.

Seville (4-4-2): Palop; Alves, Escude, Navarro, David; Adriano (Puerta, 72), Poulsen (Maresca, 61), Renato, Jesus Navas; Kanouté, Fabiano (Chevanton, 64).

Real Madrid (4-4-2): Casillas; Salgado (Mejia, 46), Ramos, Canavarro, Roberto Carlos; Beckham, Guti (Reyes, 80), Emerson, Raul; Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo (Robinho, 69).

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