Cristiano Ronaldo scores, misses penalty as Madrid beat Valencia
Real Madrid 2 - 1 Valencia

Cristiano Ronaldo scores, misses penalty as Madrid beat Valencia

Real Madrid kept the pressure on Barcelona at the top of La Liga after a late goal from Marcelo secured a 2-1 win over Valencia at the Bernabeu.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed Real into the lead on 27 minutes, but then saw his second-half penalty saved.

It looked to have proved a costly miss when Valencia midfielder Dani Parejo drilled in a superb free kick to equalise with just eight minutes left.

However, Real had the final say when Brazilian defender Marcelo cut inside to curl the ball into the bottom corner and claim what could yet prove to be a crucial three points in the title race with Barcelona.

Valencia had come into the match on the back of three successive defeats, but almost took an early lead when Santi Mina latched on to a poor backward header from Sergio Ramos and raced into the right side of the Real penalty area.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas saved his first angled shot, but from the rebound Mina was unfortunate to see his follow-up hit the outside of the post.

As the rain continued to fall, it took some time for Real, who recovered from their El Classico defeat by winning 6-2 at Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday night, to get into a spell of possession before Karim Benzema eventually tested Valencia keeper Diego Alves.

Ronaldo sent a free kick over the bar before putting Real in front when he got in front of Eliaquim Mangala to meet Dani Carvajal's curled ball in front the right with a header down into the bottom corner.

Valencia remained a threat on the break and just before half-time, Munir El Haddadi, who is on loan from Barcelona, curled the ball just wide from outside the Real penalty area.

Real started the second half on the offensive as Benzema cut back inside from the left and drilled his shot against the far post with Alves beaten.

Valencia then gave away a soft penalty on 57 minutes when Daniel Parejo was ruled to have pulled down Luka Modric as the Real midfielder shielded the ball towards the goalline.

Ronaldo clipped the spot-kick low to Alves' left, but the keeper had guessed correctly to maintain his fine record of penalty saves.

Zinedine Zidane made an attacking change when Marco Asensio replaced James Rodriguez.

Valencia substitute Moreno Rodrigo then almost made an instant impact when his looping header from a long ball over the top dropped wide.

Ronaldo clattered into the far post as he slid in with a diving header, before Valencia set up a dramatic finale.

There seemed little danger as Parejo lined up an ambitious shot from some 25 yards on the right, but the midfielder caught his free-kick superbly to fire the ball into the top corner, which Navas got a hand to but could not keep out.

The Bernabeu was left stunned, only for the home fans to be in full voice again when Marcelo cut in from the left and curled a low shot into the far corner.

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