Madrid: An unconvincing Real Madrid needed a controversial Cristiano Ronaldo penalty deep into stoppage time to snatch a 2-1 win at promoted Elche on Wednesday that kept them hard on the heels of La Liga leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Valencia’s troubled start continued when they again played poorly and had to rely on a scuffed Jonas effort in the fourth minute of added time to secure a 1-0 win at Granada in the earlier kick-off.
Sevilla secured their first win of the campaign with a 4-1 success at home to Rayo Vallecano, who had two players sent off at the Sanchez Pizjuan.
Ronaldo smashed home a free-kick to put Real ahead in the 51st minute against a plucky Elche side before substitute Richmond Boakye looked to have secured a point when he headed past Diego Lopez in the 91st minute.
There was more drama to come, however, as Real won a final corner and the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Pepe tangled with midfielder Carlos Sanchez in the area.
Television replays showed the pair grappling with each other before tumbling together to the floor and the Elche players’ fury with the decision appeared justified.
However, as the match ticked into its 96th minute, Ronaldo calmly struck the ball into the corner for his sixth goal in six matches this term.
“Anyone who watched the game can decide why Madrid won, it’s very clear,” Elche captain Jose Albacar said. “We are going away with the feeling that a match has been stolen from us that we could have drawn against a very good team,” he added.
Real’s late winner was desperately hard on Elche, who created the clearer chances in the first-half. (Reuters)