Late Tchouameni header gives Real Madrid 2-1 win and top spot

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Real Madrid’s Aurelien Tchouameni came off the bench and scored with a late header to snatch a 2-1 come-from-behind win at Las Palmas that took his side top of La Liga yesterday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team lead the standings on 54 points after 21 games, two ahead of second-placed Girona who will play their 22nd league game of the season at Celta Vigo today.

Real were short of ideas in a lacklustre first half as they struggled without their La Liga top scorer Jude Bellingham, who was suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card last weekend in their last-gasp win against bottom side Almeria.

Las Palmas, who started the weekend in eighth place only four points from the European spots, were solid in defence and neutralised Real forwards Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo, who seemed to miss the skilful Bellingham running the show in midfield.

Real controlled possession but struggled to create clear chances and were shocked by the hosts in the 53rd minute when Javi Munoz tapped in from close range after Sandro burst up the right past a flailing Antonio Rudiger and sent over a low cross.

The goal woke Real up and jet-heeled Vinicius Jr created all kinds of trouble for the Las Palmas defence.

He missed an easy chance from close range in the 64th minute but made amends a minute later when Eduardo Camavinga chipped a brilliant pass which Vinicius Jr took in his stride before netting with a tidy finish to equalise.

Real’s pressure was relentless and they scored the winner in the 84th when French substitute Tchouameni netted a towering header from a Toni Kroos corner three minutes after coming on.

“It’s great to have a motivated bench that often contributes a lot,” Ancelotti told a press conference.

“It is a tool we have. I look at the bench and I have a lot of good players that give me a variety of options to change a game.”