Real Madrid scored a pair of goals in the second half to emerge from an entertaining contest against Malaga with all three points in La Liga play on Saturday:
Los Blancos were the far more dangerous side from the outset. They established possession almost immediately and spent most of the opening 45 minutes in the attacking half—which usually means it's only a matter of time before Cristiano Ronaldo makes his presence felt.
Sure enough, the dynamic forward created his first scoring chance inside the first 10 minutes. He cut inside and unleashed a curling shot that struck the crossbar. A little less power and he would have given his side a quick lead.
A short time later Ronaldo broke free from the defense again on a nice delivery by Angel Di Maria. He attempted to slot the shot just inside the far post, but narrowly missed the goal:
One thing Malaga did effectively throughout the first half was setting offside traps. The biggest came in the 21st minute when Daniel Carvajal crossed in a perfect ball for Alvaro Morata, who found the net but was ruled offside.
Ronaldo was back on the attack around the half-hour mark. He unleashed a laser, but Boquerones goalkeeper Willy Caballero was up to the task.
Caballero came up big again a couple minutes later as Morata found space between defenders and Marcelo swung in a cross. But the goalkeeper came out aggressively and knocked down the header.
Malaga was finally able to slow down the Real attack over the final 10 minutes of the half, but they were lucky to enter halftime tied given the lopsided number of chances:
After a first half full of frustration, Real Madrid caught a break early in the second half. They finally got on the board as an attempted pass from Di Maria missed its intended target—Ronaldo's head—but managed to sneak past the keeper and inside the far post to make it 1-0:
From there, Los Blancos continued to control the pace, but were a little more conservative moving forward while holding a narrow lead.
The chances Real did create were met with resistance by Caballero. He made a handful of big saves in the second half to keep his squad within a goal, stopping multiple Ronaldo efforts to get on the score sheet, including a highlight-reel stop moving across the goal line in the 82nd minute.
Jese Rodriguez and Marcelo also had great chances turned away by the in-form Malaga keeper.
The Boquerones' best chance to equalize came in the 78th minute when Bobley Anderson found space in the final third, but his effort from just outside the box went wide.
Ronaldo proceeded to put the finishing touches on the victory with a goal from the penalty spot after Gareth Bale was taken down in the box in stoppage time:
|Real Madrid Grades|
|CAM||Isco (off 73')||C+|
|RW||Angel Di Maria (off 81')||A-|
|ST||Alvaro Morata (off 76')||B-|
|LB||Vitorino Antunes (off '77)||C|
|MF||Francisco Portillo (off '77)||C-|
|FW||Mounir El Hamdaoui||C-|
|FW||Samuel Garcia (off '70)||D+|
|77'||Roque Santa Cruz||C|
Malaga don't play again until next weekend when they will take on Celta Vigo in league play at Estadio La Rosaleda.