David Alaba scores again for Madrid

David Alaba scores

Defender David Alaba scored the winner for Real Madrid on Sunday, in what was a perfect timing for the champions in their Spanish league opener.

As Alaba prepared to come into the match by the sideline, Luka Modric was being brought down by a defender just outside the penalty area.

The 75th-minute foul happened just in time for Alaba to come off the bench and score on his first touch to help Real Madrid rally to a 2-1 victory over promoted Almería.

The defender said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti told him exactly what to do.

“Before I get into the game, he told me: ‘Take this free kick, you are going to score,’” Alaba said. “And then, after the goal, he said, ‘Look, I told you.’”

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After talking to the coach, Alaba sprinted from the bench and went straight to the free kick spot, then curled a well-struck shot that went over the wall and hit the post before going in.

“He is very good taking free kicks,” Ancelotti said. “The substitution came at the time of the foul and he is very good from that position. It was a very good shot.”

Almería, the Saudi-owned club promoted after seven consecutive seasons in the second division, had opened the scoring six minutes into the match with Largie Ramazani.

The young Belgian forward broke through behind the Madrid defenders before finding the net past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Madrid had been pressing since conceding and equalized with Lucas Vázquez from close range after a 61st-minute assist by Karim Benzema, who is coming off his best season ever but struggled to find the target on Sunday.

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Vázquez had already had a goal disallowed for offside just before halftime.

Madrid on Wednesday began its season by winning the UEFA Super Cup against Eintracht Frankfurt, when Alaba also scored.

Madrid won last season’s Champions League and comfortably clinched the Spanish league title by finishing 13 points ahead of second-place Barcelona.

New signings Antonio Rüdiger and Aurélien Tchouaméni made their debuts with Madrid as starters, with Luka Modric, Casemiro and Eden Hazard entering the match in the second half.

Ancelotti could not count on defender Dani Carvajal and forward Rodrygo because of injuries.

In the earlier match between Valencia and Girona, 10-man Valencia prevailed 1-0.

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It was a sweet victory for Valencia’s new coach Gennaro Gattuso as his team played a man down during most of the second half.

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