Real Madrid and VAR mount crazy comeback against bottom of LaLiga Almería

MADRID — A Dani Carvajal strike in the ninth-minute of stoppage time rescued Real Madrid, earning them a 3-2 comeback win at home against bottom side Almeria on Sunday in a frantic LaLiga tussle that was marked by VAR controversy.

Real climbed to the top of the LaLiga standings on 51 points, two ahead Girona who host Sevilla later on Sunday.

Lowly Almeria, who remained winless after 21 LaLiga matches this season, grabbed a two-goal lead with a quick strike from Largie Ramazani inside the first minute and a brilliant volley from distance by Edgar Gonzalez in a dismal first half for Real Madrid who didn't record a single shot on target.

A visibly frustrated Real manager Carlo Ancelotti didn't return with his players to the changing room during the break and made three changes to start the second half that added impetus to his side.

With Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham applying the pressure, Real reduced the deficit in the 56th minute with a Bellingham penalty awarded for a debatable handball after a lengthy VAR check.

However, Almeria had a Sergio Arribas effort from a counter-attack ruled out a little later after another long VAR check.

Referee Francisco Maeso ruled there was an infringement in the build-up when Almeria midfielder Dion Lopy was harshly adjudged to have fouled Bellingham when he caught him in the face as he attempted to get his balance.

Five minutes later, Maeso first ruled out Real Madrid's equalizer for a Vinicius Jr handball before awarding the goal after deciding it was off the shoulder following another VAR review. The decision left Almeria's players and manager Asier Garitano fuming.

Bellingham also had a goal ruled out for a controversial offside in the build up and he almost scored a little later with an acrobatic scissor kick that went just wide of Almeria's goal as Real made a late push.

Nine minutes into added time, after a few near misses and a red card for manager Garitano for complaining to the referee, Bellingham worked his magic inside a crowded box to lift a cross to Carvajal who tapped in the winner at the far post.

"Today we were robbed," Almeria's Gonzalo Melero told DAZN.

"It pains me to say it, but there's no other way to take it. And that's not the first this year. What happened today went beyond all limits, it was unbelievable.

"Nothing more could have been done for them to win the game..."

Real Madrid defender Carvajal disagreed.

"If Melero watches the plays calmly, he will surely realize that they are correctly refereed," Carvajal told DAZN.

"I said to my teammates at halftime that anything could happen until the last minute and it did. Thanks to our fans who carried us up to the sky."

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas, Editing by Toby Davis)

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