Jude Bellingham scores on Real Madrid debut in 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao in Spanish league opener

Sat, Aug 12, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Jude Bellingham scores on Real Madrid debut in 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao in Spanish league opener

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Jude Bellingham enjoyed a dream debut for Real Madrid after the England midfielder scored his team's second goal in a 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao in their Spanish league opener on Saturday.

Wearing the No. 5 of Madrid great Zinedine Zidane, Bellingham started the match while Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, the veterans he is tapped to take over from, watched from the bench at San Mames Stadium.

His goal was not a work of beauty like so many crafted by Zidane, and he perhaps had a bit of good fortune to guide it into the net. A left-side corner kick by David Alaba found Bellingham unmarked in the area, where he knocked the ball with one touch down onto the turf, only for it to bounce high and sail into the net over Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon.

The 20-year-old Bellingham jogged to the endline and raised his arms to soak up the applause from the section of Madrid fans in the otherwise red-and-white stands.

That doubled Madrid's lead in the 36th after Rodrigo had put Madrid ahead eight minutes earlier.

Andriy Lunin was in goal for Madrid. A rarely used backup for the past three years, the Ukrainian keeper is now Madrid's starter after Thibaut Courtois tore a left-knee ligament this week. Madrid's defense saved Lunin from being seriously tested by Bilbao.

Madrid may have lost center back Eder Militao to injury as well. The Brazil defender went down in pain just after halftime when his left knee appeared to twist awkwardly. He was helped to walk off by two team doctors.

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