Cristiano Ronaldo scored deep in injury time to cap Real Madrid’s incredible 3-2 comeback victory at Levante on Saturday, when his team went from losing, to drawing, and finally to winning in the last five minutes.
At 1-1, Levante’s Nabil El Zhar grabbed what looked to be the winner in the 86th, but Madrid substitute Alvaro Morata stepped up to level in the 90th to score the equalizer for madrid.
Still facing what would have been a costly draw, Ronaldo’s last-gasp strike hit both a defender and the post before settling into the net to crush the hosts’ hopes of taking a point.
“When Madrid plays football, it only needs five minutes to win a game,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
This was Ronaldo’s second winner for Madrid on the last shot of the game in the last seven days after he netted a penalty six minutes after fulltime to grab a 2-1 win at Elche last Saturday.
The Portugal forward has seven goals in league play — one less than Messi and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa — and 12 goals in 10 games in all competitions this season.
The victory put Madrid back in third place, five points behind Barcelona and two points behind Atletico before it hosts Celta Vigo on Sunday.
It also saved Ancelotti from even more pressure following the loss to Atletico last weekend. Although his team’s lacklustre performance through most of the game will likely earn him more criticism.
“People need to be patient,” Morata said about the Madrid supporters who jeered Ancelotti in the last two home games. “There have been a lot of changes recently. We will play better, for sure.”[fbphotos id =172216296304754]
Without the injured Gareth Bale, Madrid could do very little to disarm Levante’s stingy defense in the first half at a Ciutat de Valencia Stadium where it had lost in two of its previous three visits.
Since suffering a 7-0 thrashing at Barcelona in the league opener, new coach Joaquin Caparros – known for his focus on defense – had steered Levante to a six-game undefeated streak that it almost kept going considering it never trailed Madrid until stoppage time.
After a foul-ridden first 45 minutes, Levante opened through striker Babacar ”Baba” Diawara in the 57th.
Madrid was caught pressing forward when Levante got a three-on-two breakaway, and midfielder Jordi Xumetra floated a cross for Baba to beat goalkeeper Diego Lopez with a right-footed volley.
Sergio Ramos leveled four minutes later when the Madrid center back raced in at the second post and slammed in Angel Di Maria’s corner kick.
Ramos was denied a possible second goal in the 65th when his header hit teammate Karim Benzema in the six-yard box.
Madrid was again caught looking to score late when El Zhar did well to fend off Ramos in the area before he spun and fired the ball into the corner.
But Morata, who scored a late winner for Madrid here last season, coolly drove in his goal before Ronaldo pulled out his late heroics.