A.Crusat 14' 1-0
C.Ronaldo 27' 1-1
R.v.d Vaart 69' 1-2
Stadium: Estadio Mediterraneo, Spain
Match Time: 19:00 UK
Miguel Angel Pérez Lasa (Referee)
Real Madrid cut Barcelona's lead at the summit back to three points after recovering from an early deficit to defeat mid-table Almeria tonight.
Madrid, seeking an immediate response to their demoralising 2-0 home defeat to Barca in 'El Clasico' last weekend, created chance after chance but were made to sweat before recording their seventh successive away win.
Almeria shocked their big-spending visitors by taking a 14th-minute lead through Albert Crusat, but a fine Cristiano Ronaldo goal drew Madrid level nine minutes later and Rafael van der Vaart secured the victory in the 69th minute.
Madrid started off well enough, with Van der Vaart (twice) and Ronaldo bringing saves out of the hugely impressive Almeria goalkeeper Diego Alves in the opening nine minutes.
However, against the run of play, Madrid found themselves trailing when Crusat netted.
Kalu Uche broke down the right before drilling a low cross to the far post, where the unmarked Crusat fired past the helpless Iker Casillas.
That goal gave Almeria a noticeable boost and they almost doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Domingo Cisma's brought a flying save out of Casillas with a curling free-kick.
At the other end, Madrid were struggling to break down a heavily packed Almeria defence - until a moment of magic from Ronaldo got the visitors back on level terms.
The former Manchester United man showed why Madrid splashed out a world-record £80million on him last summer as he burst between two opponents, outfoxed Cisma with a stepover and then drilled a low left-footed shot into the far corner of the net.
That was Ronaldo's 19th league goal of the season and continued his love-hate affair with the Andalusian side.
In the previous meeting between the clubs in December, Ronaldo scored, missed a penalty and was then sent off in a 4-2 win.
Buoyed by that goal, Madrid set about trying to fashion a lead and Gonzalo Higuain brought a fine one-handed save out of Alves before Guti hit the post from the edge of the box - Van der Vaart putting the rebound wide from 10 yards out.
The visitors survived a huge let-off in the 32nd minute though when Uche fluffed an amazing chance.
Crusat's low cross picked out his team-mate unmarked five yards out, but with the goal at his mercy, the Nigerian inexplicably tried to flick the ball in with his heel and succeeded only in hitting it onto his other foot, allowing Casillas to save.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first, with Madrid comfortably creating chances but finding Alves in top form.
Alves has been linked with a summer move to Madrid or Barca, and it was easy to see why as he did well to deny Higuain, who then saw his follow-up shot acrobatically cleared off the line by Michel.
Brazilian Alves then brilliantly saved from Marcelo and produced another stop to keep out Ronaldo's low shot.
It seemed just a matter of time before Manuel Pellegrini's side made the breakthrough, and it finally arrived in the 69th minute through Van der Vaart.
The Dutchman, who missed Madrid's best chance against Barca, picked up Higuain's pass 20 yards before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner.
Madrid would have been hugely relieved with that goal, but they almost threw it away five minutes later following a glaring header by Raul Albiol.
Albiol's attempted header back to Casillas lacked power and allowed Uche to sneak in, however the Madrid keeper was quickly in to produce a crucial block.
That was the final major scare for Madrid, who should have added further goals in the closing stages with Alves again denying Ronaldo and substitute Karim Benzema, and Mahamadou Diarra blazing over.