Real Madrid cling on for three points in Vallecas thriller

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 03, 2013 03:30 hrs

Madrid, Nov 3 (IANS) Real Madrid survived a heroic fightback from Rayo Vallecano to come away with three vital points in their challenge for the BBVA Primera Liga title.

Madrid ended asking for time after having looked on track for a comfortable win as they led 0-3 after 48 minutes, reported Xinhua.

However, two clear penalties in a chaotic two minutes between 53 and 55 minutes saw Rayo close the gap and had it not been for a flying save from Madrid keeper, Diego Lopez and some wayward finishing Rayo would have taken the point their brave efforts deserved.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti brought Xabi Alonso back into his starting 11 for the first time since before the summer with Luka Modric and Angel Di Maria in support behind an attack containing Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Meanwhile, Fabio Coentrao replaced Marcelo at left back with Dani Carvajal on the right.

The first half saw Rayo play their typical open attacking football and they enjoyed 64 percent of possession, but as always Paco Jemez's side left gaps in defence and were behind as early as the third minute. Xabi Alonso robbed possession in midfield and his pass found Cristiano Ronaldo, who nutmegged Galvez before calmly sliding the ball into the far corner of the net.

Rayo had good claims for a penalty turned down just two minutes later when Dani Carvajal looked to have brought Nacho down but the referee waved play on.

The home side then had a goal ruled out for offside when Iago Falque had the ball in the net, but the fact it had defected off Jonathan Viera, who tried to get out of the way, meant it was correctly disallowed.

Karim Benzema then added insult to injury for Rayo when another break saw Bale cross from him to double Madrid's lead with a simple header barely a minute later.

It looked all over just three minutes after half time when Gareth Bale produced another moment of magic on the right before setting up Ronaldo to score his second of the night.

That should have killed the game off, but Rayo got back into the game in 52nd minute after Pepe brought Jonathan Viera down in the area and Viera picked himself up to beat Lopez.

Two minutes later Marcelo clattered into Iago Falque and Viera again kept his calm to make it 3-2.

Madrid were clearly nervous and Rayo pressed hard looking for the equalizer, winning the majority of possession as Madrid struggled to hold on to the ball. Saul volleyed wide and Lopez made a fine save from Embarba as Rayo came threatened, while Carvajal was lucky not to see a second yellow card for a cynical challenge as Ancelotti's side clung on for three vital points.

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