MADRID – Real Madrid earned an unconvincing 3-2 home victory over Malaga in the 13th round of La Liga on Saturday.
Just days after routing APOEL 6-0 in UEFA Champions League play, Real Madrid barely came away with the win at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium thanks to a late penalty.
The defending league champions took the lead thanks to a goal by Karim Benzema in the ninth minute, when a Cristiano Ronaldo header ricocheted off the crossbar and set up an easy score into an open net.
Real Madrid then conceded its first La Liga home goal in 288 minutes (more than three games) of action when Malaga’s Diego Rolan took advantage of a mistake by Toni Kroos and Casemiro to even the score in the 18th minute.
It was the first goal the Blancos had conceded at home since their 1-0 defeat against Real Betis on Sept. 20.
But the Spanish-league powerhouse needed only three minutes to regain the lead, with Casemiro doing the honors.
Malaga then came close to tying the score again shortly before the intermission when Frenchman Paul Baysse headed a ball over Real Madrid net minder Kiko Casilla’s head and into the back of the net.
Referee Jesus Gil Manzano, however, annulled the goal, ruling that Baysse had climbed on the back and fouled defender Dani Carvajal.
Even so, Gonzalo Castro drew Malaga level at 2-2 with a remarkable left-footed blast from outside the penalty box in the 58th minute.
Real Madrid had plenty of time though and got the go-ahead goal on a penalty kick that was awarded when Benzema was fouled in the area.
Malaga’s Roberto managed to save Cristiano Ronaldo’s initial penalty try, but the Portuguese superstar sent the deflection into the back of the net.
With the win, Real Madrid continues to hold the third spot in the league table with 27 points, pending the result of Atletico Madrid’s game against host Levante Saturday night. Malaga, meanwhile, is in the 18th spot with just seven points.
Earlier Saturday, Eibar defeated Alaves 2-1.