Real Madrid came back from behind to get their Liga title defence off to a winning start as Los Blancos sealed a 2-1 victory over Almería at the Estadio Mediterráneo.
Almería, who have conceded a total of 21 goals in their last five meetings with Real Madrid, took a shock lead in the ninth minute to send the Los Rojiblancos fans wild.
Largie Ramazani latched onto a beautifully weighted outside of the foot through ball from Íñigo Eguaras to race clear of the defence and place a low shot beyond Thibaut Courtois in the Madrid goal.
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Carlo Ancelotti’s side responded brilliantly, and created many clear-cut chances to get back on level terms. The pick of the bunch was just a few minutes after the opening goal, but Karim Benzema could only send Vinicius Jr’s cut-back into the box from the left byline over the bar from five yards out.
Los Blancos eventually had their equaliser in the 61st minute as Lucas Vazquez struck. The right-back advanced forward to place home a low strike from inside the box following a cut-back from Benzema.
Then, with his first touch after coming on as a late substitute, David Alaba won it for Real Madrid with a superbly struck free-kick 15 minutes from time to break Almeria hearts after such a spirited showing by the newly-promoted side in what was their first La Liga match in seven years.

TALKING POINT - Real Madrid survive scare

Real Madrid overcame the nervousness attached with a potential defeat to a newly-promoted side, as the defending champions compeleted their comeback after going a goal behind early on. In terms of shots, you can see from the statistics that Carlo Ancelotti's side had much more of the superiority in this game. In total, Los Blancos had 29 efforts compared with just ten from Almería. However, the shot count does not tell the full story.
Almería took their chance when it came in the ninth minute, and made the most of their back-five formation, sitting deep when out of possession. They also at times aggressively pressed high to try and halt Madrid from playing out. Los Rojiblancos also had some more key chances of their own, although the majority of them were strikes from distance.
However, after Madrid kept plugging away to try and find the winner, it eventually came through a moment of brilliant quality from David Alaba, as all Madridistas breathed a sigh of relief with 15 minutes to play. It was also a baptism of fire for new signing Aurélien Tchouaméni, as the €80 million summer purchase from AS Monaco was hooked off at half-time for Luka Modric. Welcome to La Liga, Aurélien.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Fernando Martinez

Fernando Martinez Rubio of UD Almeria looks on during the LaLiga Santander match between UD Almeria and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Mediterraneo in Almeria

Image credit: Getty Images

It is rare that a player on the losing side takes home the player of the match accolade, but Almería's goalkeeper is fully deserving of this award for his performance this evening at Estadio Mediterráneo
The 32-year-old was sublime in between the posts for his side, making a total of 13 saves from the 29 shots on goal that Real Madrid had. Fernando single handedly kept Almería in the game during the first half, as Los Blancos continued to pepper shots at his goal the moment after going behind.
The pick of the saves was in the 37th minute. A long through ball from Kroos found Vinicius Jr. in a lot of space in the left channel. Despite the Brazilian trying to find the near corner with a strike whilst one-on-one with the stopper, the Almería goalkeeper tipped it away brilliantly.

PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid CF: Courtois 7, Mendy 6, Nacho 6, Rudiger 6, Vazquez 7, Kroos 7, Tchouameni 6, Camavinga 6, Vini Jr. 7, Benzema 7, Valverde 7. Subs: Ceballos 6, Modric 6, Casemiro 6, Hazard 6, Alaba 7.
UD Almería: Fernando 9, Chumi 7, Kaiky 7, Ely 7, Babic 6, Akieme 6, Robertone 6, Eguaras 7, Costa 6, Ramazani 7, Sadiq 6. Subs: Portillo 6, Puigmal 6, Sanchez 6, Lazo 6, Sousa 6.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

6’ - GOAL! (Largie Ramazani) - What a start for Almeria! They lead Real Madrid! A ball is played over the top for Ramazani to chase the outside of Eguaras’ boot, and the forward gets in behind the defence! Ramazani is 1 v 1 with Courtois, and strokes the ball calmly into the bottom-left corner to give his side a priceless lead!
8’ - WHAT A MISS! - That is a shocker from Benzema! A ball is played over the top from midfield for Vinicius Jr. to chase down the left flank. He is in acres of space, and cuts the ball back for Benzema in the centre. He is five yards out, but he skies his effort over the bar!
43’ - GOAL RULED OUT FOR MADRID! - Madrid thought they had equalised, but it's ruled out for offside! Vinicius Jr. exhibits some great trickery on the left-edge of the box, before playing in Kroos behind him. The midfielder then plays a fantastic cross for Vazquez at the back post, and the defender smashes the ball in on the volley. However, the referee had his flag up straight away. On the replay, it looked quite tight, but the referee made the correct call.
61’ - GOAL! (Lucas Vazquez) - There is the equaliser! It's Lucas Vazquez with a powerful strike from inside the area! It is a bit of a scrappy goal but Real Madrid will not care. Vinicius makes a late run into the box, but he is stopped in his tracks by Fernando before he can strike. The ball falls to Benzema on the rebound, who just about manages to cut it back for Vazquez to his right despite receiving a late challenge, and the defender makes no mistake from close range.
75’ - GOAL! (David Alaba) - What a way to introduce yourself to this game! Alaba scores with his first touch! The Austrian opts to take a free-kick for Real just outside the D. He executes it to perfection, curling it into the top corner, with a little help from the upright. Real have turned it around!

KEY STATS

  • David Alaba is just one of the two La Liga players to have scored two direct free-kick goals across all competitions since last season, alongside Nabil Fekir.
  • Real Madrid had 12 corners in the first 45 minutes against UD Almeria, their highest total in a first half of a La Liga game since at least 2003/04.
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