Carvajal seals Madrid's wild comeback win over Almeria

AFP , Sunday 21 Jan 2024

Real Madrid produced a controversial comeback to beat winless Almeria 3-2 on Sunday and moved provisionally top of La Liga.

Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal celebrates scoring his team s third goal to snatch victory in stoppage time against Almeria. Photo:AFP


Dani Carvajal rammed home the winner in the 99th minute to settle a wild and hugely entertaining clash at the Santiago Bernabeu where Mafrid had trailed 2-0.

Almeria took a two-goal lead in the first half through Largie Ramazani's 38th minute strike and a screamer from Edgar Gonzalez.

However Madrid battled back to triumph as Jude Bellingham converted a penalty and Vinicius Junior used his upper arm to divert home an equaliser, before Carvajal's last-gasp winner.

Ramazani stunned Los Blancos inside the first minute and pulled off a spectacular backflip celebration in delight.

Nacho gave the ball away with a slack pass and Almeria sprang forward, with the Belgian forward beating Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Madrid struggled to find their rhythm and Almeria scored a brilliant second before half-time when Gonzalez lashed a half-volley into the top corner from long range.

Madrid could not conjure a shot on target in the first half and Ancelotti took action at the break.

The Italian coach made a triple change, hooking Nacho, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo for Brahim Diaz, Fran Garcia and target man Joselu.

The latter was quickly involved, winning Madrid a penalty when his header was handled by Kaiky Fernandes, awarded after a VAR review.

La Liga's top scorer Bellingham fired the spot kick down the middle for his 14th strike of the campaign.

Former Madrid forward Sergio Arribas thought he had restored Almeria's lead but the goal was ruled out for a foul in the build up again by VAR, before Vinicius levelled.

The Brazilian turned home Aurelien Tchouameni's cross with his upper arm and although the goal was ruled out for handball at first, after yet another VAR review it was controversially allowed to stand.

Bellingham had a goal ruled out for offside against Garcia in the build up as Madrid ramped up the pressure in search of the winner.

The England international again came close with a superb bicycle kick which flew narrowly off-target and also had an effort deflected wide as Almeria desperately clung on.

Almeria coach Gaizka Garitano was sent off during 11 minutes of stoppage time for complaints but worse was yet to come.

Bellingham knocked on a cross to the back post where Carvajal arrived to smash home and spark jubilant celebrations from a club accustomed to producing these kind of epic comebacks.

Later Sunday champions Barcelona, fourth, visit Real Betis and Girona host Sevilla looking to reclaim the lead in La Liga -- Madrid's victory gives them a two point lead on the Catalans.

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