Defenders secure win for Madrid away to Alaves

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MADRID, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Goals from defenders Sergio Ramos and Dani Carjaval gave Real Madrid a 2-1 win away to Alaves on Saturday lunchtime.

The win lifts Zinedine Zidane's team to the top of the Liga Santander table above FC Barcelona, who have a difficult away game against Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.

Alphonse Areola was a surprise starter in goal for Madrid with Thibaut Courtois left out of the side after an error in midweek.

Although Isco kept his place after a good midweek display in the Champions League and Gareth Bale returned to the starting 11 for the first time since October, it was a torrid first 45 minutes from Real Madrid, who struggled to break down a well-drilled Alaves side that limited them to long-range efforts.

The closest Madrid came to a goal was when Alaves defender Ruben Duarte headed onto his own post and a 25 drive from Casemiro, which was well saved by Fernando Pacheco in the Alaves goal.

With so few chances it was not surprising that the first goal came from a set-piece as Sergio Ramos was on hand to head home a free-kick from Tony Kroos as the rain began to fall heavily in Vitoria.

Ramos being Ramos, the defender blotted his copybook not long afterward when he caught Alaves defender Joselu in the face in the Madrid penalty area and Lucas Perez sent Areola the wrong way from the resulting penalty to level the scores in the 65th minute.

Dani Carvajal won the game for the visitors just four minutes later with a close-range finish after Pacheco did well to save an Isco header only for the ball to bounce off the post to leave the defender with an open goal.

Lucas Perez had a late chance well saved by Areola in the last minute of the game as Madrid clung on for the valuable and hard-earned three points. Enditem

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