ALMERIA, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Real Madrid new recruit Jude Bellingham scored twice and guided the Spanish giants to a 3-1 comeback win at Almeria on Saturday, with a stunning strike from Vinicius Jr guaranteeing the points.

Bellingham took his tally to three goals in two games as Real secured their second successive win.

The 20-year-old England midfielder, signed for 103 million euros plus 30 million euros in add-ons from Borussia Dortmund, again looked unstoppable as he led most of Real’s scoring opportunities.

The versatile midfielder is living up to the high expectations, combining well with Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr in the new 4-4-2 formation, and has filled the void left by the departure of 2022 Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema, who left for Saudi Arabia.

Almeria took Real by surprise in the third minute, scoring after a lightening quick counter-attack as Sergio Arribas headed in from a Lucas Robertone cross from the left.

But the Spanish giants shook it off quickly and piled on the pressure, leveling in the 18th minute with a tidy Bellingham finish from close range after a nice combination with Federico Valverde.

Bellingham knocked down a Valverde header with his shoulder and, after the ball awkwardly bounced back at a defender, fired into the far corner.

Real kept trying to break Almeria´s deadlock and Rodrygo had a good chance that went just wide in the 27th minute, just before the referee stop play due to Almeria´s scorching heat.

Almeria’s Iddrisu Baba and Robertone were both denied by goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, who has been called into the line-up after regular keeper Thibaut Courtois tore a ligament in his left knee and will be sidelined for several months.

In the 60th minute, Toni Kroos found Bellingham ghosting between two defenders and delivered a clinical cross to the England midfielder who nodded the ball past the flailing goalkeeper Luis Maximiano.

Vinicius Jr then made it 3-1 in the 73th minute with a brilliant dipping strike from just inside the box which arched over Maximiano and into the top right corner.

“I was a bit lucky (with scoring the goal), but I’m very happy to get my first of the season,” Vinicius told Real Madrid TV.

“We have to continue like this, me and everyone. I hope the connection with Bellingham grows to the same level that we had with Karim so we get a lot of goals and assists.” (Reporting by Fernando Kallas in Madrid; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pritha Sarkar)

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