Real Madrid came out flat against a Mallorca club looking to fight its way out of the bottom three in La Liga. The heavily favored host stormed back with a second-half flurry, though, as the Vikings cruised to a 5-2 victory.
Even with Real Madrid dominating possession in the first 45 minutes, there was no denying the Vermilions' heart. 23-year-old winger Emilio Nsue got Mallorca on the board early, heading home a spectacular goal in the sixth minute.
After Gonzalo Higuain responded for the home team, forward Alejandro Alfaro brilliantly redirected a corner kick setup from Giovani Dos Santos with his head to put Mallorca back on top.
A 2-1 halftime deficit wasn't enough to keep Real down, though.
After a close call in front of their own net, Cristiano Ronaldo swung the momentum in his club's favor in the 52nd minute. The star rose to the occasion on a corner kick by Mesut Ozil, placing a perfect header into the far corner to knot the score at two.
Infostrada Sports indicated the milestone Ronaldo achieved by once again finding the net:
Just moments later at 54', midfielder Luka Modric blasted an unstoppable strike that suddenly had the Vermilions trailing 3-2. Higuain then broke the spirits of the upstart Mallorca squad by notching his second goal of the match in the 57th minute.
As might be expected, Mallorca never recovered from the overwhelming barrage. It was inspiring play for the first half, but ultimately not enough to pull the massive upset, as the Vermilions fell victim to three incredible goals in a six-minute span.
Karim Benzema scored in the match's closing moments, which only put salt in the wound for Mallorca.
Here is a look at some grades for the marquee players in what turned out to be a captivating comeback by Real Madrid.
Gonzalo Higuain, Real Madrid: A+
The Vikings forward has to be considered the man of the match. Real was in real danger of blowing an easy home game, but Higuain was a big reason it didn't happen. His response to Mallorca drawing first blood was key, and his last goal gave his club necessary insurance.
Giovani Dos Santos, Mallorca: A
Coach Gregorio Manzano recently said that Dos Santos was Mallorca's version of Ronaldo, and Dos Santos certainly played like a star. Both goals Mallorca scored were set up by Dos Santos, and without his brilliance, the Vermilions would have never had even a hope of stealing a win on the road.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid: A-
An unstoppable header sparked the big run that allowed the Vikings to coast to victory. It was business as usual for Ronaldo, who was the catalyst for the Real rally. Once again, he justified why he is heralded as one of the elite scorers in the world.