Tuesday, 27 September, 2022
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Alaba free-kick gives Real Madrid win to start title defence

David Alaba scored with a stunning free-kick immediately after coming on as a substitute as reigning champions Real Madrid came from behind to beat Almeria 2-1 in their opening game of the season in La Liga on Sunday.

Carlo Ancelotti's side trailed to an early goal by Largie Ramazani away against their promoted opponents, but Lucas Vazquez equalised just after the hour mark.

The winner arrived with 15 minutes remaining at Almeria's Power Horse Stadium, as Alaba strode onto the pitch and curled a free-kick in off the upright after Luka Modric had been fouled just outside the box.

Real were made to work hard for the points against an Almeria side who won last season's second-tier title to return to La Liga after a seven-year absence.

"We had lots of shots on goal but once we got the first goal it made things much easier for us," said Ancelotti.

"I am happy with the way the game went. We were not spectacular but there were lots of things to take into account, like the game on Wednesday and the heat."

Earlier, Japan star Takefusa Kubo marked his Real Sociedad debut by scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win at Cadiz.

Kubo, 21, moved to San Sebastian last month on a five-year deal from Real Madrid, after never managing to break into the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Signed by Madrid from FC Tokyo as an 18-year-old in 2019, he was farmed out on loan to Mallorca, Villarreal and then Getafe, before returning to Mallorca last season.

Carlos Soler's penalty gave Valencia a 1-0 win over promoted Girona in their first La Liga outing under new coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Atletico Madrid begin their campaign away at Getafe in one of three matches to be played on Monday.