Eight points behind the Liga leaders, Real Madrid CF are still clinging to FC Barcelona's coat-tails, but twice needed to battle back from behind to snatch a 3-2 victory at Real Valladolid CF.
The confident hosts grabbed an early lead when Manucho exploited confusion in a crowded box to sweep in a loose ball from Patrick Ebert's corner. Cristiano Ronaldo squared for Karim Benzema to level, but José Mourinho's men soon fell behind again from another corner, as an unchallenged Manucho powered in a front-post header.
However, a touch of class ensured there was no separating the teams at half-time. Mesut Özil wriggled into the box and fed Benzema before collecting the France striker's back-heeled return and tucking beyond Dani Hernández. Both teams attacked with abandon, but Özil had the final say, curling a free-kick in off the bar to earn the win.
Meanwhile, Málaga CF are one place below Madrid after climbing to fourth with an impressive 4-0 victory against Granada CF. First-half strikes by Joaquin and Javier Saviola were supplemented by efforts from Ignacio Camacho and Roque Santa Cruz as Manuel Pellegrini's team crowned an excellent week in which they finished top of UEFA Champions League Group C.
Roberto Soldado earned Valencia CF a 1-0 win at CA Osasuna in new coach Ernesto Valverde's first Liga game in charge.
© 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.