Cordoba vs Real Madrid. Spanish La Liga.
Estadio Nuevo ArcangelAttendance21,822.
Saturday 24 January 2015 19:02, UK
Gareth Bale’s late penalty earned Real Madrid a dramatic 2-1 win at Cordoba, after Cristiano Ronaldo had been sent off for kicking an opponent.
The former Manchester United star received his marching orders after kicking out at Cordoba’s Brazilian defender Edimar Fraga in the box as the score was tied at 1-1.
Ronaldo had been held in check until the 82nd minute when his frustration boiled over as he lashed out in anger.
Nabil Ghilas opened the scoring with a penalty two minutes in for the hosts, somewhat against the run of play.
However, Karim Benzema equalised for Madrid just before the half-hour mark, and set the league leaders on their way.
The winner looked like it was never going to come, especially after Ronaldo’s petulance, but Bale stepped up to the plate in the Portuguese’s absence to earn his side the spot-kick, and convert it himself.
The home fans had plenty to cheer within the first two minutes as Manchester United reject Bebe saw his shot cannon off Sergio Ramos' arm and referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez pointed to the spot.
Ghilas had been left out of the Algerian squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, but his country's loss has been Corboba's gain as he fired home his second goal in three games from the spot.
Bebe was making just his third appearance for Cordoba on loan from Benfica, but he was a constant threat in the first 45 minutes and was inches away from doubling the hosts' lead with a shot across goal that sneaked just wide.
Slowly, though, Madrid began to find their feet and drew level on 27 minutes when Rodriguez's corner was flicked on by Bale and Benzema slammed home his 15th goal of the season from close range.
However, Cordoba will rue not making the most of a host of opportunities to seal a famous win after the break.
Cartabia was desperately unlucky to see his shot from the edge of the area fly just wide before a scintillating run by Bebe took him past a host of Madrid defenders but his weak shot was easily held by Iker Casillas.
The best chance of all fell to Florin Andone when he pounced on a poor header by Raphael Varane, but Casillas did just enough to turn his attempted lob on to the bar.
Madrid rallied in the final 15 minutes, but were still restricted to efforts from outside the area as Juan Carlos got down well to stop fierce efforts from Toni Kroos and Benzema.
Ronaldo's frustrations then boiled over when he was rightly dismissed for kicking out at Edimar.
Yet, Carlo Ancelotti's men still managed to grind out a vital victory when Bale made no mistake from the spot after Cartabia clearly handled his initial free-kick.