The Austrian kicked off his effort at the post with his first touch of the game after coming off the bench, earning the defending champion a hard-fought win at newly-promoted Almería.

The home side actually took the lead with Largie Ramazani heading home in the opening 10 minutes.

Although Lucas Vázquez was denied an equalizer just before half-time, he eventually scored, slamming home from close range shortly after the hour mark.

And Alaba’s brilliant free-kick from the edge of the penalty area completed the comeback, giving Los Blancos a winning start to the season.

After the game, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said he expected a difficult start to life as champions.

“We expected to have to dig here, especially when we complicated our lives with a defensive error that we could have avoided,” he told Real Madrid TV.

“We struggled from there. (Almería) defended really well, we had a lot of shots on goal and once the first one came in things got easier.”

Madrid got their league campaign in earnest on Sunday after beating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in the UEFA Super Cup earlier in the week – contested between last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners .

Having received a guard of honor from Almería players when their players entered the pitch, Real Madrid were caught soon after.

Just six minutes into the game, Belgian striker Ramazani – who came through the ranks at Manchester United – passed Thibaut Courtois after latching onto a chipped ball above the Madrid defence.

According to Opta, the goal was the fastest Real Madrid have conceded in La Liga in the 15 years since Sergio Agüero scored for Atlético Madrid.

Having fallen one goal, the opposing team increased the pressure and thought they had equalized at half-time. Toni Kroos’ tricky cross into the box was sent home by Vázquez, only for the linesman to rule it offside.

Both goalkeepers were called into action in the second half as Courtois had to deny Umar Sadiq with his legs, while Fernando Martínez in the Almería goal stopped Vinicius Júnior, only for the rebound to end up falling on Vázquez to get back home.

After the goal, the game swung in Real’s favor increasing the pressure, but it still took a moment of magic to get a winner. Alaba, who had just entered the pitch, got up and carried the ball home – glancing just wide of the post – and past a desperate Martínez.

Although Almería had a very late chance to snatch something from the game – Rodrigo Ely’s header going straight to Courtois – Real Madrid held on to claim the perfect start to the new campaign.

Afterwards, Spain international Vázquez admitted how severe a travel test to face newly-promoted Almería would be.

Vázquez celebrates the equalizer against Almería with Vinicius Júnior.
“We had a difficult period, but I think at the end of the day the victory and the way the team felt there is positive. We come away happy. We knew it would be difficult against a team newly promoted in front of their home fans,” he told the Real Madrid website.

“They went forward and that saw them sit even deeper and give us less space. We were patient and moved the ball well. In the first half we had some good chances and we were unlucky not to score but the team kept showing their belief and it was a deserved win at the end I’m glad I helped the team with a goal and the thing more important is the victory.”

Real Madrid’s victory came on the same weekend as rivals Barcelona could only manage a goalless draw at home against Rayo Vallecano.

Armed with a host of their new signings – Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Andreas Christensen all started while Franck Kessié came on from the bench – Barca dominated but couldn’t break Vallecano, with Sergio Busquets sent off in the dying moments .

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