Real Madrid maintained their unbeaten run in La Liga with a dramatic 1-2 victory at Elche. Cristiano Ronaldo’s took the three points home with a late goal in a controversial penalty after the hosts had equalised in stoppage time.
Los Merengues had a slow opening in the game. Despite having the possession most of the time, Elche’s midfield and defence lines moved tightly together to deny the visitors’ efforts to reach the box.
Seeing that Los Blancos were not feeling comfortable, the hosts gained confidence and started approaching Diego Lopez’s position. In fact they could easily have found themselves in front if the Galician goalkeeper hadn’t made two superb saves.
In the 10th minute, Lopez denied Lomban’s header from a free kick, palming the attempt away. And just four minutes later he brilliantly stopped Javi Marquez’s strike towards the bottom corner.
The match then became entertaining, with both teams looking dangerous on the counterattack. Marquez had another great chance from ten metres but his shot bounced over the bar.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side had a few chances to score before half-time. Ronaldo’s best effort fizzed past the post and Di Maria’s shot was saved by Manu Herrera.
Things could have been worst for Real if Sergio Ramos had been shown his second yellow card after going late to stop Coro. If he hadn’t been booked earlier, the referee would have probably gone into the book.
Ronaldo breaks the wall
The visitors finally got going early in the second half thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese smashed a free kick from more than 30 metres and the ball squeezed through the wall and past Herrera making it 0-1.
The goal was a hammer blow to Elche, as Real focussed on defending and the host’s options to counterattack diminished. And even more when Ancelotti reinforced the defence with Carvajal and Illarramendi entering in place of Modric and Isco.
Elche’s had a good chance to score with a powerful shot from distance by Aaron Niguez, but he sent his effort wide off the post. However, Real’s over-confidence punished them, and Boakye scored in stoppaged time.
But when Elche’s crowd were still celebrating, Pepe was brought down by Carlos Sanchez inside the box and Ronaldo saved his team dispatching the penalty.
Los Blancos didn’t humiliate their rival as expected. In fact, Elche was a decent adversary who probably deserved to savage a draw. However, Real managed to take home the three points to continue Barca and Atletico chase. Los Blancos sit third in La Liga just two points behind Barcelona and Atletico, three days before meeting Los Colchoneros in the Madrid derby.