Almeria had their hearts broken near the end where Real Madrid came back from behind to get their first win

Real Madrid needed a wonderful free kick from David Alaba to squeeze past Almeria and get their La Liga title defence off to a winning start as they claimed a 2-1 victory on Sunday night.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti made five changes from the Real side that beat Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup, with Alaba, Casemiro, Eder Militao and Luka Modric all being benched as Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger made their league debuts.

That decision looked to have backfired when Largie Ramazani put the hosts ahead, but Lucas Vazquez equalised before substitute Alaba scored with his first touch in the 75th minute, curling in a free kick barely moments after his introduction.

Real fell behind early on as Ramazani latched onto a lobbed pass from Inigo Eguaras to run in and fire beyond Thibaut Courtois to give the hosts an unfancied lead.

Los Blancos went close in quick succession after going behind, with Federico Valverde drawing Fernando Martinez into a flying stop at the near post before Karim Benzema skewed over from Vinicius Junior’s cut back under pressure from Kayky.

They remained susceptible on the counter attack, however, and almost fell 2-0 behind when Umar Sadiq broke free and smashed just over the bar.

Benzema started to get his radar going as he headed into Martinez’s arms from Toni Kroos’ swinging cross, though Almeria continued to carry a threat as Sadiq tussled with La Liga debutant Antonio Rudiger and Nacho throughout the first half.

Real continued to push as Vinicius raced clear to force Martinez into a save at his near post before Rudiger’s header was again repelled by the Spanish goalkeeper.

Vazquez soon had the ball in the back of the net with a terrific first-time finish from Kroos’ cross, though the strike was ruled out for offside. The call looked extremely tight, but Almeria were given the benefit.

Eguaras sent a long shot whizzing past Courtois’ right post as Almeria reminded the Spanish champions of their threat, while at the other end Vinicius and Benzema linked up to set up Valverde, whose drilled shot was too central and easily stopped.

However, Real’s increased pressure on Almeria’s goal deserved an equaliser and it was Vazquez who steered home from Benzema’s scuffed pass after Vinicius had burst into the box.

The visitors began to impose themselves towards full time and got the winner they just about deserved when Alaba whipped his free kick over Almeria’s wall and into the far corner beyond Martinez’s reach. Martinez was brilliant in the Almeria goal, making 13 saves and keeping the game tight.

The old guard were required but it will be seen as job done for Real, who are next in action when they visit Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Source: 90min

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