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Match Preview : Almería, still searching for a first win

Almería is left wondering what it needs to do to get its first La Liga win of the season after leading 2-0 at half-time at Real Madrid, only to lose 3-2. Two controversial VAR decisions went against Almería, and three of its players said the team had been robbed by VAR, while manager Gaizka Garitano was sent off in the second half for his persistent and angry protests.

Garitano praised his players’ fighting spirit, and he should at least take some confidence from the fact that his team has taken the lead six times in La Liga this season, even if it has not converted any of those into three points (1 draw, 5 defeats). A return home to the Power Horse Stadium seems the most likely route to that first win, as the team has taken five of its six points in La Liga at that ground.

Alavés is one of only two teams (with Osasuna) to have won 1-0 against Almería this season. Based on its one La Liga win by at least two goals, against fellow relegation candidate Granada, improving on that score could prove a little too ambitious in this latest meeting.

The visitors have at least taken a step forward recently by winning their first away league win of the season (1 win, 4 draws, 6 defeats). After taking all three points at home to Sevilla (3-2), they beat Cádiz 1-0, which gives them the chance to move closer to the top half of the table against an opponent as poorly placed as themselves. This pair of wins is also the first time since returning to the top flight that Alavés has recorded back-to-back league wins, which could suggest a revival.

Players to watch: Luis Suárez, who recently returned from a three-month injury, scored in his last personal appearance against Alavés. With his third league goal, Luis Rioja recorded the best Flashscore match rating for the fourth time this season.

Hot stat: Ten of Almería’s last eleven La Liga matches have ended in a draw or a one-goal defeat.

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