Real Madrid move into second with entertaining victory
Los Blancos overcame Valencia 3-2 to leapfrog Atletico Madrid – who were beaten away to Levante – into second. Zinedine Zidane’s side can claim the title if Barcelona stumble on the last day.
Cristiano clears the way
With Real Madrid under the cosh after a commanding start by Valencia CF, who were looking good on the ball, Cristiano Ronaldo popped up to set his side on their way. After being denied by Diego Alves when he had his first sight of goal, the Portuguese star made no mistake with his second opportunity a few minutes later, breaking the deadlock at the Bernabeu in trademark fashion.
Benzema doubles the score before the break
Karim Benzema could not have reacted any more sharply when the ball broke to him in the six-yard box from a Valencia tackle in the 42nd minute. The Frenchman fired a predatory finish past Alves to make it 2-0 and further calm the home fans’ nerves before the interval.
Rodrigo’s ex factor brings Valencia back into it
Valencia came flying out of the blocks in the second half. The visitors saw several clear openings go begging, as well as hitting the bar from a free-kick, before none other than Real Madrid academy graduate Rodrigo reduced his side’s deficit and threw the cat among the pigeons. The hosts were to have some nervy moments in store after all.
Despite Ronaldo restoring his team’s two-goal advantage with a fine left-footer off James Rodriguez’s through ball, Valencia were not ready to down tools and duly struck again to set up a nail-biting last 10 minutes. Andre Gomes was the man responsible, pulling it back to 3-2 – the eventual final scoreline – with a veritable thunderbolt.
Arbeloa’s fond farewell
Alvaro Arbeloa was introduced in place of Ronaldo late on for his Bernabeu swansong, having recently announced that he will be leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season. The veteran defender was able to say his goodbyes to the supporters while celebrating a crucial victory that leaves Los Blancos in with a shot of winning the Liga BBVA on the last day, if they get the better of RC Deportivo and Barcelona falter against Granada CF.