Real Madrid 3-2 Malaga: Cristiano Ronaldo seals late win
By Oliver Young-Myles
Last Updated: 25/11/17 7:38pm
Cristiano Ronaldo's strike 15 minutes from time handed Real Madrid a 3-2 win over relegation-threatened Malaga in a surprisingly even contest at the Bernabeu.
Both teams traded blows in an entertaining start to the game with Karim Benzema and Casemiro scoring either side of a Diego Rolan strike inside the opening 21 minutes.
Malaga equalised again in the second half, though, as Chory Castro's long-range shot squirmed under Kiko Casilla in goal before Ronaldo sealed the points by converting from close range after Roberto had saved his penalty.
It was by no means convincing but the result means that Real Madrid have closed the gap on league leaders Barcelona to seven points ahead of their top-of-the-table clash against Valencia on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Real Madrid: Casilla (5), Carvajal (7), Vallejo (6), Varane (6), Marcelo (5), Casemiro (7), Kroos (6), Isco (5), Lucas Vazquez (7), Ronaldo (7), Benzema (8)
Subs: Modric (6), Theo (N/A), Mayoral (N/A)
Malaga: Roberto (8), Rosales (6), Hernandez (6), Gonzalez (5), Juankar (5), Keko (8), Adrian (6), Recio (7), Chory (7), Rolan (7), Penaranda (6)
Subs: Baysse (6), Juanpi (6), Baston (N/A)
Man of the match: Roberto
Benzema had failed to score in any of his previous seven La Liga fixtures at the Bernabeu prior to kick-off but he finally broke his duck after nine minutes, nodding into an empty net after Ronaldo's close-range header had cannoned off the crossbar.
Less than 10 minutes later Malaga equalised as a mix-up between Toni Kroos and Raphael Varane led to Keko receiving the ball on the right wing and his cross was converted emphatically by Rolan on the volley.
However, just three minutes after conceding, the hosts were back in front on 21 minutes as Casemiro rose to thump a header beyond the despairing dive of Roberto from Kroos' in-swinging corner from the left.
In first-half stoppage time, it looked as though Malaga had drawn level again as substitute Paul Baysse looped a header in over Casilla but it was disallowed by the referee. Initially, it appeared as if he had blown for half-time before Baysee had made contact with the ball but replays showed that the defender had instead been penalised for a push on Dani Carvajal.
Zinedine Zidane made three changes to the team that thumped APOEL 6-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Jesus Vallejo replaced Nacho in central defence, while Casemiro and Isco came into midfield with Luka Modric dropping to the bench and Asensio missing out altogether due to injury.
Malaga did draw level just before the hour mark in any case and again it was a Real Madrid error that allowed them to do so, as Casilla inexplicably allowed a hopeful Chory strike from distance to creep past him and into the bottom corner.
Real Madrid were handed a golden chance to win the game as the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Luka Modric with 75 minutes played and while Ronaldo missed his spot-kick, he volleyed in the rebound from close range. With just two minutes remaining, Ronaldo had the ball in the net again but was incorrectly deemed to be offside.
Man of the match - Roberto
Malaga's goalkeeper made an unconvincing start to the game as he flapped at a couple of Real Madrid crosses but he certainly grew into the game and was on hand to deny the hosts time and again with a series of excellent saves.
In total, Roberto made six saves to deny Real Madrid's forwards, the pick of which was a sprawling effort to deny a Toni Kroos effort that was veering towards his top corner. On another day, he might have been the hero in a 2-2 draw but he was unfortunate to see his penalty save bounce straight back to Ronaldo to score the winner.
Real Madrid's next game is against Fuenlabrada in the Copa Del Rey at the Bernabeu before they resume La Liga action against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames next Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Malaga are in action against Numancia in the cup on Tuesday before taking on Levante in La Liga on Friday in another game that is live on Sky Sports Football.