Put the champagne away in Barcelona, at least for now.
Will Los Blancos catch Barca in La Liga chase?
It was never a foregone conclusion Los Blancos would win the contest, despite leading 4-2 with just minutes left to play. The visitors made it interesting, but ultimately the host side warded off the late rush to escape with the victory.
Early on in the eighth minute, Valladolid got on the board first. Oscar picked his way between Madrid defenders and easily beat Diego Lopez to the back of the net.
Los Blancos got the equalizer after a strong move to the right and shot by Angel Di Maria got past Jaime on an own-goal deflection by defender Marc Valiente.
Madrid waited little time before earning the advantage. After a corner was cleared, Di Maria placed a perfect crosser to Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished with the side of his head to put his club on top.
Ronaldo’s score was his 52nd goal in 52 appearances (32 in 32 La Liga appearances) this season. It was yet another impressive milestone for the star footballer, according to Real Madrid’s Twitter feed:
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 198 goals in 196 matches for Real Madrid in all competitions #HalaMadrid— Real Madrid C.F. (@OfficialRMadrid) May 4, 2013
Just minutes later the challengers evened things up. Two beautiful passes, including a perfect cross by Omar to Javi Guerra, resulted in the forward finding the net near the far post.
The scoring spree appeared to continue after a Los Blancos corner found the back of the net just one minute after Pucela equalized. An official raised his offside flag, though, negating the go-ahead score.
Things settled down after that scoring spree, but the action failed to disappoint in the waning moments of the first half.
Just three minutes into the second half, the hosts pulled back ahead. Kaka took a deflection off of a Valladolid defender and beat Jaime across to the back post.
Ronaldo gave Los Blancos some breathing room in the 70th with another beautiful head piece off of a corner by Mesut Ozil. The score brought him even closer to the 200-goal milestone. That’s a feat only five others have been able to accomplish for the Madrid club.
Valladolid didn't surrender, adding a goal in the 87th minute by substitute Lluis Sastre. The goal, the first by Sastre in La Liga play, was too little, too late for the visitors.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid: A+
Ronaldo had his chances but was only able to put two into the back of the net. But what masterful scores they were. He had another bounce off the cross bar and a head piece that sailed over the back of the net after a high cross from Kaka.
Jaime, Real Valladolid: C+
It’s hard to fault Jaime for the two first-half goals that found the back of his net. The first was an own goal after a deflection by Valiente sent the keeper heading in the wrong direction. Madrid’s next score came on a beautiful head piece by Ronaldo that he touched perfectly to the back side of the keeper who was coming on to protect the front of the net.
Kaka, Real Madrid: A-
It was only a matter of time before the aggressive midfielder scored. After multiple missed opportunities in the early going, Kaka punched in a score in the opening moments of the second half to put his team in the lead.
Diego Lopez, Real Madrid: B+
There wasn’t much the keeper could do to stop the first two Valladolid scores. Beautiful play by the visitors and poor defense gave them clean looks on goal, and they simply beat the keeper.
Oscar, Real Valladolid: B
Oscar did it all by himself during the opening moments of Saturday's contest. He read a poor switch by Madrid as they attempted to move the ball up the field. After coming away with the takeaway, he punched it behind the oncoming Lopez to give his side an early advantage. He had his chance in the 80th minute off of a deflection but was denied by Lopez on the challenge.