MADRID (AFP) — Real Madrid's flawless start to the season continued with a 3-1 win over Almeria on Saturday as the Spanish champions warmed up for Tuesday's Champions League opener against Werder Bremen.
Man of the moment Wesley Sneijder continued his record of scoring in every league game curling in a trademark free-kick on 68 minutes for his fourth goal of the season.
Earlier Javier Saviola, starting in place of the rested Ruud van Nistelrooy, had opened the scoring with his first league goal for Real before Sneijder doubled their advantage.
Kalu Uche pulled one back for ten-man Almeria on 73 minutes but substitute Gonzalo Higuain scored late on to clinch another win for Real.
Real now have a perfect nine points under new German coach Bernd Schuster and, although it is early in the season title rivals Barcelona, five points adrift, are certainly under pressure to win their game in hand against Osasuna on Sunday.
"We had to work hard and we lacked that match sharpness after a complicated week with players away on international duty," said Schuster.
"We gave away a silly goal and made it hard for ourselves but we won and if we want to win titles at the end of the season we have to win games like this."
For Real the Champions League is up next with their opening match a tricky home tie against resilient German side Bremen on Tuesday.
Schuster has hinted that he will rotate his team again believing Real now have the strength in depth to rest key players.
"This year it makes more sense to rotate players because the squad is well balanced," Schuster explained.
"Everyone is capable of playing in the league, cup or the Champions League. We have a squad for competing in all competitions."
Club president Ramon Calderon said Real were the best team in Europe in midweek and they now have a chance to prove it against Europe's elite.
Nine-time European champions Real were beaten by Bayern Munich at the last 16 stage last year and Schuster will be under pressure to do better than his predecessor Fabio Capello.
Valencia needed an 89th minute strike from winger David de Silva to secure their first home win of the campaign with a 2-1 victory over Valladolid.
Cameroon midfielder Daniel Kome put Valladolid ahead on ten minutes before Spanish international Fernando Morientes equalised on 23 minutes.
A draw looked on the cards until de Silva popped up with a winner close to the end and Valencia climb to second, three points behind tabletoppers Real.
Valencia are also in action in midweek facing Schalke 04 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
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