Real Madrid’s attack brought one Rayo Vallecano player to tears before its defence nearly spoiled another tremendous performance from Cristiano Ronaldo in a 3-2 win on Saturday.
Madrid’s victory kept it six points behind Spanish leader Barcelona, but only just as it nearly blew a three-goal lead during a frantic finish set off after it surrendered a pair of second-half penalties to Jonathan Viera.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti will have no qualms about selecting his attack for Tuesday’s Champions League match at Juventus as Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Karim Benzema once again showed Madrid’s potency up front.
Rayo defender Anaitz Arbilla was in tears after being substituted in the 51st minute, moments before Viera scored his pair of spot kicks to turn the game with Madrid on the verge of conceding an equalizer at Vallecas Stadium right to the final whistle.
Madrid’s attack picked up from Wednesday’s 7-3 win over Sevilla as Luka Modric sent Ronaldo racing down the left and skipping past his marker to move clear into the area and fire the third-minute opener past goalkeeper Ruben Martinez.
Bale picked out Benzema inside the area with a cross from the right to head home in the 31st for 2-0.
The winger showed cleverness when he flicked a ball over a defender to get free along the goal-line and he picked out Ronaldo streaking into the area to fire into the top of goal in the 48th.
Madrid was dominating the bottom table club until Pepe kicked out at Viera — whose inopportune touch earlier waived off a Iago Falque goal because of offside — and Marcelo flew into Alberto Bueno to set up Viera’s goals in the 53rd and 55th.
Diego Lopez certainly earned his reported salary boost as the Madrid goalkeeper got a tip to Bueno’s smash for it to find the post, and he recovered to save from Lass Bangoura as his 65th-minute shot ricocheted through the area on goal.
Substitute Adrian Gonzalez nearly scored on his first touch, just rolling wide, as the hosts came close while goalkeeper Ruben Martinez denied Ronaldo late at the other end.
Barcelona leads Atletico Madrid by four points, and Madrid by six. Atletico plays Athletic Bilbao tonight.