David Alaba (left) celebrates
after scoring the winning goal.
David Alaba (left) celebrates after scoring the winning goal.

David Alaba helps real rally past Alemria

Alaba came off the bench and immediately scored from a 75th-minute free-kick to give the defending champion a 2-1 come-from-behind win at promoted Almería.

MADRID: Substitute David Alaba needed one touch to help Real Madrid rally to victory in its Spanish La Liga opener.

Alaba came off the bench and immediately scored from a 75th-minute free-kick to give the defending champion a 2-1 come-from-behind win at promoted Almería.

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.

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 an assist by Karim Benzema in the 61st. 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.

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

Coach Gattuso wins on Valencia debut

Gennaro Gattuso debuted as Valencia coach with a 1-0 win against promoted Girona in a match in which his team played a man down for most of the second half.

Carlos Soler converted a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time, then the host held on despite Eray Comert’s sending off with a straight red card shortly after half-time at the Mestalla Stadium. Girona, back in the first division after a three-year absence, struggled despite the man advantage and finished with only one attempt on target.

Results: Almeria 1 (Ramazani 6) lost to Real Madrid 2 (Vasquez 61, Alaba 75); Valencia 1 (Soler 45+1) bt Girona 0

Roma beats Salernitana

Former Juventus forward Paulo Dybala hit the post but couldn’t score in his Roma debut as Jose Mourinho’s team opened its Serie A campaign with a 1-0 win at Salernitana on Sunday.

Bryan Cristante scored the only goal of the match in the 33rd minute. Dybala was Roma’s marquee signing of the offseason, moving to the capital after his contract expired at Juventus. Mourinho steered Roma to the Europa Conference League title last season, the club’s first trophy in 14 years. Having finished sixth in Serie A it will be targeting a top-four finish and a Champions League spot but it is also seen as dark horse for the title — despite Mourinho downplaying his team’s chances.

Dybala almost opened his Roma account in the 23rd minute as he curled a free kick over the wall but it also sailed narrowly over the bar. Roma took the lead 10 minutes later. A Tammy Abraham attempt was charged down but the ball came to Cristante on the edge of the box and he fired through a crowd of bodies into the far bottom corner.

Result: Salernitana 0 lost to AS Roma 1 (Cristante 33)

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