MLS

Los Angeles FC 3-2 Real Salt Lake: Arango makes history as LAFC edge five-goal MLS thriller

By Sports Desk September 13, 2021

Cristian Arango scored twice in an historic performance as Los Angeles FC claimed a 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake in a thrilling MLS contest on Sunday.

Arango's brace included the fastest goal in club history for LAFC – who have won four consecutive games against RSL – after opening the scoring just 20 seconds into the match at Banc of California Stadium.

It eclipsed Eduard Atuesta's record – he scored after 85 seconds on April 24 earlier this season.

Real Salt Lake equalised through Damir Kreilach's stunner approaching the half-hour mark, when the Croatian curled a strike into the net from distance.

Visiting RSL were only on level terms for two minutes after Arango restored LAFC's lead with a header, much to the delight of the crowd.

Anderson Julio levelled proceedings three minutes into the second half, finishing past Tomas Romero.

But LAFC had the final say as Toni Datkovic's own goal gifted the home side another lead in the 59th minute, an advantage they did not relinquish.

LAFC are eighth in the Western Conference – adrift of seventh-placed RSL and the play-off spots on goal difference through 23 matches.

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    Substitute David Alaba scored a stunning free-kick with his first touch as Real Madrid started their LaLiga title defence with a 2-1 turnaround win over Almeria on Sunday.

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    Madrid struggled to find a way past an inspired Fernando Martinez in the Almeria goal, before Lucas Vazquez, who had an effort ruled out in the first half for offside, eventually pulled Madrid level shortly after the hour mark.

    Alaba replaced Ferland Mendy in the 74th minute and with his first touch curled a sumptuous free-kick past Fernando from 25 yards to seal all three points.

    Madrid's defence was caught out in just the sixth minute when Ramazani latched onto Inigo Eguaras' superb ball over the top and fired past Thibaut Courtois from just inside the penalty area.

    At five minutes and 50 seconds, that was the quickest goal Madrid have conceded on the opening day of a league season since Sergio Aguero scored against them for Atletico Madrid in August 2007.

    Los Blancos had a whopping 17 shots before the interval, yet a combination of smart goalkeeping from Fernando and uncharacteristically wasteful finishing from Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior prevented them from finding a leveller.

    Fernando continued to frustrate Madrid after the break, denying Benzema with a fine save, but he was eventually beaten in the 61st minute when Vazquez slammed home after the Almeria goalkeeper had kept out Vinicius' effort. 

    Alaba then ensured Madrid went back to the capital with maximum points, whipping past a helpless Fernando immediately after entering the action.

    What does it mean? Madrid bounce back to deny plucky hosts

    Almeria had won just one of their 12 games against Madrid in LaLiga prior to Sunday's clash, but they looked like they might earn a famous victory thanks to Ramazani's early strike and some inspired goalkeeping from Fernando.

    Vasquez and Alaba had other ideas, though, as Los Blancos stretched their unbeaten run on the opening day of LaLiga to 14 games.

    Alaba's instant impact

    Alaba did not need to settle into the action before dispatching a glorious free-kick past Fernando with his first touch. That goal meant he is one of only two players, alongside Real Betis' Nabil Fekir, to have scored two goals from free-kicks in LaLiga since the start of last season.

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    Madrid are away at Celta Vigo on Saturday, while Almeria visit Elche two days later. 

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    A dramatic conclusion followed though, as Harry Kane was on hand to head home in the 96th minute and spark wild celebrations from Conte, before both he and Tuchel were promptly sent off amid a touchline clash.

    That followed an earlier argument between the pair after Hojbjerg's strike, with Tuchel furious the goal had not been ruled out for offside against Richarlison.

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    Conte did not want to discuss the specifics of his clash with Tuchel, instead choosing to highlight that his side needs to improve if they are to enjoy the kind of success Chelsea have in recent seasons.

    "It's not so important [the clash with Tuchel]," he said in a press conference.

    "The most important thing is football and to speak about football. It was an intensive game. This game was really tough for us. You know that they are a really good team here.

    "I have to be honest, today Chelsea were better than us. Compared to last season we did better, but if we want to create problems for Chelsea [in the table] we have to be better.

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