Laliga champions, Real Madrid took full advantage of Barcelona’s draw against Rayo Vallecano to beat Almeria on the opening weekend of the La Liga season.
Madrid had fallen behind through Ramazani’s goal after six minutes, but Lucas Vazquez’s goal just after the hour mark and Alaba’s tremendous free-kick gave Ancelotti’s men a deserved victory.
However, Madrid did not have it their own way and had difficulty for long periods in breaking down the Almeria defence.
Almeria got off to a dream start against Real Madrid with just six minutes on the clock. Inigo Eguaras played a long ball from his own half for Ramazani who ran onto the ball and shot past Courtois to send the home fans ecstatic. However, Carlo Ancelotti’s side were a different team after that early setback.
They piled relentless pressure on the Almeria goal and Karim Benzema nearly scored after a pass by Vinicius, but he was denied by a defender just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Rudiger also had an effort, but the strike was deflected behind for a corner. When it was not a defender, it was goalkeeper Fernando Martinez who was keeping them at bay.
Valverde after 15 minutes and then Rudiger close to the interval both stung the hands of the Spanish goalie while Ancelotti’s side had no fewer than 12 corners in the first 45 minutes of the contest. Strong defending and a quality goalkeeper meant Almeria led at the break. The hosts took advantage of Madrid’s attacks to counter and it could have even been 2-0 had Sadiq not blazed over early in the half.
The second stanza was more of the same as Madrid continued to knock on Almeria’s door. The newly promoted side also gave it a go though and Samu Costa had a sight of goal in the 50th minute, but he just could not find the target while Umar Sadiq also forced a save out of Courtois. However, Madrid’s class ended up showing through.
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Benzema was denied by Fernando in the 55th minute, but as the clock ticked past the hour mark, Madrid got their deserved equaliser. Vinicius attacked and had a shot saved by Fernando, the ball broke to Benzema and, even though an opponent was able to dispossess him as he was about to score, the ball broke to Lucas Vazquez and he hit home.
Madrid continued to press in search of a winner and, in the 74th minute, Ancelotti introduced Alaba to replace Mendy and the Austrian struck gold with his first touch. His free-kick went over the wall and struck Fernando’s left hand upright before going in the goal. The goalie was left with no chance and it gave Madrid the lead for the first time in the contest.
The goal was a major setback for the Andalusian outfit and they brought on Puigmal and Portillo in the closing stages, but they were unable to get an equaliser.
Curro Sanchez came the closest with a strike, but his effort was well stopped by Courtois while it could have even ended 1-3 had Fernando not prevented Samu Costa from scoring an own goal.
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It was a fully deserved Real Madrid win, but Almeria gave it their best effort.