DORTMUND (Germany) • They may be stumbling in La Liga but European champions Real Madrid were "brilliant" in their 3-1 victory over in-form Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, said coach Zinedine Zidane.
The Spanish football club, who have dropped to sixth in the domestic league, seven points off leaders Barcelona after six matches, were in sparkling European form, outclassing the German side who had conceded just one goal in their first six Bundesliga matches.
It was also Real's first win at Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park after three defeats and three draws.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who last week started his first league game of the season following suspension, marked his 150th European game by scoring twice. Gareth Bale opened the scoring after Real were lucky not to concede a penalty when Sergio Ramos cleared a Maximilian Philipp effort on the line with his hand in a pulsating encounter.
"We played a great game from start to finish. We could have scored more. We had chances," said Zidane, who has led Real to historic back-to-back Champions League titles.
"We had a spectacular game, a brilliant game. The important thing is to score more than our opponents and we did that. I am delighted for Ronaldo and Bale. The side worked hard. The midfield worked very hard. I am extremely happy because they played a tremendous game."
The Frenchman praised his players for a focused and disciplined performance and for not losing their cool when Dortmund pulled a goal back through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang early in the second half to make it 2-1. The goal set up a nerve-racking final 25 minutes.
"We started well, the first half was brilliant as was the second. We showed authority. We had some difficult moments after the break but we played them out. It was perfect," said the Real coach.
The result leaves Real top of Group H, just ahead of Tottenham, who beat Apoel 3-0 away. Dortmund are third and six points adrift of Spurs, who they also lost 1-3 to in London.
Dortmund coach Peter Bosz gave an honest appraisal of his team, who were better than Real in virtually every statistic - apart from the scoreboard.
"We defend with 11 players and we attack with 11 players," said the Dutchman, whose side shaded possession and matched Real's 16 shots on goal.
"We were just too late against a side who barely made a mistake and we have to defend better."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE