Yossi is the Real deal

By Danny Caro, February 26, 2009

An 82nd minute header from Yossi Benayoun proved decisive as five-times Champions League winners Liverpool claimed a vital advantage from the Super 16 first leg tie against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Impressive throughout, the Israel captain found the perfect moment to open his account in Europe’s premier competition as the Reds gained the upper hand. He found space in a packed six-yard box to nod home Fabio Aurelio’s curling free-kick.

Benayoun told Liverpooltv: "Of course I am really pleased to score at the Bernabeu but the most important thing was to get the victory.

"We're all really pleased because this is a fantastic result for us. It's a great win but we have to think that we still have one more game to play and look to complete the job at Anfield.

"We came with the idea to win. We knew we'd have to work hard in defence but that we could get spaces behind them when they attacked us.

"We've done well in this game but Real Madrid are a big team with quality players. We have confidence after this result but now we have to put everything into the next game to make sure we are in the next round."

Looking ahead to the second leg at Anfield on March 10, Benayoun said: "It will be easier for us when both of them play. Gerrard is the most important player on this team, so when he's not playing everyone needs to work harder and it's difficult to fill his place. Hopefully he'll be ready for the next game and that will make things easier."

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said: "Yossi's not the tallest, but he’s not bad [in the air]. He’s very clever."

Last updated: 10:27am, February 26 2009