Madrid: A pair of goals from Sergio Ramos were enough to put Real Madrid back on track with a 2-1 win over Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Madrid, coming off defeats at Sevilla last weekend and against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey in midweek, had a 2-0 lead through Ramos by half-time, then saw out the victory after Juanpi’s 63rd-minute goal for the visitors. After Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo saw scoring opportunities go astray and Marcelo limped off with an apparent injury, Ramos opened the scoring in the 35th minute by heading in a floated free kick from Toni Kroos.
The teammates repeated the feat eight minutes late, as another Kroos free kick found Ramos to score Madrid’s second, though Malaga complained for offside. Ramos hadn’t scored twice in a game since 2014 but has now reached five league goals for the first time in his career. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has more goals for Madrid this season with 12. Malaga got back in the game when Juankar forced a save from Madrid keeper Keylor Navas and the ball fell for Juanpi to score.
Ronaldo struck the post in the late stages and failed to beat Malaga keeper Carlos Kameni on a number of occasions, but Madrid earned the victory and opened a four-point lead atop La Liga. Luka Modric also had to leave the match in the second half, leaving coach Zinedine Zidane to lament his side’s injury situation. Valencia clawed further clear of the relegation zone with their second straight league win, 2-0 away to Villarreal. Carlos Soler and Santi Mina both scored just before half-time as the visitors were able to build on last week’s win over Espanyol.
But the result highlighted the current problems at Villarreal, who despite their position have now gone three league games without a win. Leganes came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw away to Alaves. Victor Laguardia’s 11th-minute opener for the hosts was cancelled out by Miguel Angel Guerrero on the stroke of half-time.Edgar Mendez put Alaves back in front but Pablo Insua’s 84th minute equaliser helped Leganes’ own survival hopes. In the day’s early game, Espanyol ended a three-game winless streak with a comfortable 3-1 home victory over struggling Granada and moved to 10th place.
Granada, winless in five matches, remained second-to-bottom but could drop bottom if last-placed Osasuna defeat second-placed Sevilla at home on Sunday. Jose Antonio Reyes gave Espanyol an early lead, but Andreas Pereira was able to equalise midway through the first half. But the hosts were soon back in front through Pablo Piatti, and Marc Navarro provided a two-goal advantage three minutes after half-time.