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Real Madrid in blistering form following 6-2 thrashing of Dinamo Zagreb

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By David Redshaw

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Real Madrid were in blistering form as they wrapped up Group D of the Champions League with a 6-2 thrashing of a Dinamo Zagreb side they had accused of being over-physical in the first game between the clubs. José Mourinho’s men stormed into a 4-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes with goals from Karim Benzema, Jose Callejon and Gonzalo Higuain, and Mesut Ozil before Callejón and Benzema struck again after the interval.

Strikes in the last 10 minutes from Dinamo's Fatos Beqiraj and Ivan Tomecak gave the Croatian champions a measure of respectability as Los Blancos notched their 12th consecutive victory, their best run since the 1960/61 season when Miguel Muñoz’s team won 15 on the spin. The record-breaking did not end there: it was the first time a team had scored three in the opening eight minutes of a Champions League fixture and Madrid also became the first side to score 200 goals inside their own stadium in the competition.

Afterwards, Mourinho praised the attitude of his players, some of whom were not first-team regulars as Cristiano Ronald, Pepe and Iker Casillas sat on the bench: “I saw a hungry side out there,” commented the Portuguese. “They did very well. Those that play less do so because the others are playing very well. I knew they would respond because they work like this in training. I enjoyed watching all of them and so did Cristiano, Pepe and Iker.”

Real started with both Benzema and Higuaín up front and Mourinho was again asked who his first-choice striker was: “I am satisfied with both,” he replied. “But I can imagine that tomorrow there will be a new debate, and that’s positive because they are both good players. We have two fantastic strikers and Karim is one of those who can also play out wide. So I’m delighted. It’s fantastic to have players like this.”

In addition, the game marked the first start in a white shirt for Nuri Sahin, who has been injured since his summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, and Mourinho admitted he is still a long way off full fitness: “Nuri is still in pre-season, which is usually in July and we are now in November. He lacks rhythm, confidence and is playing at a lower intensity. He showed signs of his quality but he has been through a lot and this match was brilliant for him.”

Mourinho then went on to explain that he had spoken to Cristiano Ronaldo and given him the reasons why he was not playing. He said: “Cristiano played two vital games for Portugal last week then another difficult one against Valencia on a heavy pitch. It was normal to rest him. We spoke before the game and I told him we couldn’t lose this match, that if we got to half-time and were struggling then he would play. He was happy to play 45 minutes but my intention was to leave him on the bench. When we started scoring he said to me straight away he knew he was not going to get on.”

Finally, Mourinho remarked on the two goals conceded near the end, saying: “There’s no problem. We played seriously and the players have a right to make mistakes when they are tired. At 6-0 it’s normal to lose concentration. The most important thing is that we qualified with five consecutive victories.”

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