In their first La Liga game of the season, reigning Spanish champions Real Madrid snatched a 2-1 victory away to promoted Almeria on Sunday thanks to UEFA Super Cup goalscorer David Alaba won 2-0 against Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday.
Largely overhauled, Real folded in the 6th minute on a goal from Belgian Largie Ramazani, but turned the tide in the second half with the equalizer from Lucas Vazquez in the 61st minute after a mess in the area, then thanks to a superb Direct free kick converted from the left by David Alaba (75th), a few seconds after coming into play in place of Ferland Mendy. “Those who had to hit him were Karim or Toni (Kroos). But Alaba came in then, and from that position he hits them very well. So we said he was the one who was going to shoot it. And it wasn’t an easy decision, because it’s not easy to say no to Karim and Toni”, blew Ancelotti in the post-match press conference.
A second decisive goal in two matches for the Austrian, who disguised himself as Karim Benzema in this comeback, four days after opening his counter for the season in the Supercup. But a goal that will not allow the people of Madrid to climb on the first step of the classification, occupied by Villarreal, winner 3-0 at the promoted Valladolid on Saturday. Atlético Madrid, which returns Monday evening (7:30 p.m.) in Getafe, will in turn have a chance to overtake its two main competitors for the title on the first day, while FC Barcelona were hung 0-0 by Rayo Vallecano on Saturday at Camp Nou.
Despite Alaba’s brilliance a quarter of an hour from time, Ancelotti has his work cut out for him. After starting the season with a trophy in Helsinki – the UEFA Super Cup against Eintracht Frankfurt (2-0) – the Italian technician had decided to revamp his eleven for this first trip to the championship. But Real suffered in Andalusia, undermined by a daring formation from Almeria. The Andalusians, who returned to La Liga after seven seasons in the Spanish second division, offered a polished and pleasant game, despite the Madrid waves coming from the left side of Vinicius and Ferland Mendy.
The two summer recruits, Antonio Rüdiger and Aurélien Tchouaméni, were established for the first time on Saturday at the Mediterranean Games stadium. But Rüdiger, aligned in central defense alongside Nacho Fernandez, is guilty of having left too much space for Ramazani, found in depth by a magnificent outside foot from Inigo Eguaras on the opener. And he missed the opportunity to catch up on his two attempts (11th and 40th).
Tchouaméni, without shining
And Tchouaméni, lined up alongside his young compatriot Eduardo Camavinga (replaced at the break by Luka Modric) and Toni Kroos, was not very sharp. On the contrary: in the 13th minute, Almeria almost doubled the lead after losing the ball from the ex-Monegasque. Tchouaméni was replaced by Eden Hazard in the 58th minute, but the Belgian, who evolved very close to Karim Benzema, did not shine more. “The youngsters didn’t play the way they know how. They didn’t do anything wrong, but they can do much better”, noted “Carletto” after the match.
Fortunately for the Merengues, Lucas Vazquez, who replaced Dani Carvajal as right-back, was in great shape: a first goal was denied to him in the 43rd, just before half-time, for a contentious offside position, then his second, on the hour mark, put Real back on track. Earlier in the day, Real Sociedad won with a narrow 1-0 header at Cadiz thanks to a goal from their rookie Takefusa Kubo, who thus opened their account for their first match in their new colors .
Valencia, despite the early expulsion of Swiss defender Eray Comert in the 52nd for a gross foul, managed to keep the result and snatch the three points thanks to the goal scored just before the break by Carlos Soler on penalty (45th + 1) .
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