Real Madrid score late to snatch victory at Alaves in La Liga

Real Madrid's Antonio Rudiger (centre) and Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham celebrate their victory at the Spanish La Liga soccer match against Alaves at the Mendizorroza stadium in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain on Thursday.

Agency :
A stoppage-time header by fullback Lucas Vazquez earned 10-man Real Madrid a 1-0 victory at lowly Alaves in La Liga on Thursday, with defender Nacho handed his marching orders following a sliding tackle.

The win left Real Madrid on top of the standings on goal difference, level on 45 points with surprise package Girona who were held to a 1-1 draw at Real Betis earlier on Thursday. Barcelona are third on 38 points.

Real’s old rivals Barcelona are a distant third on 38 points, three ahead Atletico Madrid who have a game in hand and host Sevilla on Saturday.

A toothless Real Madrid failed to create almost any opportunities as they looked to be heading towards a dull goalless draw against a rugged Alaves who are struggling standing on 17th place in the LaLiga standings, but are tough to beat when roared on by their fans at the Mendizorroza stadium, having earned 13 of their 16 points playing at home.

They made it difficult for Real, whose only real chance in the first half was when Uruguay midfielder Federico Valverde unleashed a thunderous strike from range that goalkeeper Antonio Sivera punched away in the 37th minute.

But after loosing Nacho to a straight red in the 54th minute after an awful studs-up sliding tackle to Samu Omorodion’s ankle, Real started to show signs of life.

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While Alaves looked content to snatch a point from their giant rivals, Real were more purposeful going forward, missed some half chances and nearly drew first blood when Rodrygo barely missed the top left corner with a curling strike in the 75th minute.

But they finally scored one minute into added time when Toni Kroos lifted a corner to Vazquez who headed home from the crowded box.

A last-gasp goal and triumph that were passionately celebrated by Real Madrid players and staff, who let off steam after a troubled night and a narrow win.

“This team has unknown energies,” Carlo Ancelotti told a press conference.

“It was a complicated match and with one man down… everyone thought that today would be a typical day for us to slip up.
“But we held on well with ten men, we defended well and, in the end, we were rewarded.”