Liga - Ronaldo salvages point for Real with dramatic late stunner

La Liga, Santiago Bernabeu - Real Madrid 2 (Ramos 59, Ronaldo 90+2) Valencia 2 (Mathieu 44, Parejo 65)

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Liga - Ronaldo salvages point for Real with dramatic late stunner
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Cristiano salvaged a late point for Real Madrid against Valencia (Reuters)

Cristiano Ronaldo kept Real Madrid’s slim title hopes alive, scoring a stoppage time goal to salvage a 2-2 draw and prevent a shock defeat to Valencia at the Bernabeu.

Atletico Madrid’s defeat to Levante earlier in the day meant Real Madrid were presented with the opportunity to close the gap at the top of La Liga to just three points. But it was a chance Carlo Ancelotti’s men couldn’t take, with Ronaldo salvaging a point with a nonchalant backheel flick late in the game.

The Bernabeu side now trail Atletico by five points, although they hold a game in hand over Atleti, with Barcelona just three points adrift with two games left to play.

Real Madrid started the first half strongly, with Ronaldo passing up a glorious chance to put his side 1-0 up, shooting straight at Diego Alves after being played clean through on goal.

Valencia created a clear-cut opportunity of their own just minutes later, when an unmarked Dani Parejo hit the bar from a matter of yards when he really should have scored.

The away side took a shock lead just before the break, with Jeremy Mathieu making the most of Real’s slack defending to head home from a Parejo corner kick.

Los Blancos cranked up the pressure in the second half and found an equaliser after 59 minutes, when Sergio Ramos scored his third goal in two games by turning home Ronaldo’s knock-down.

But incredibly Valencia struck again, with former Real Madrid player Parejo finding the bottom corner following great play by Sofiane Feghouli down the left wing.

Real Madrid piled the pressure on Valencia in an attempt to find a leveler, and in the third minute of stoppage time Ronaldo found one, flicking a cross into the net with an acrobatic backheel volley.

Ronaldo should have scored the winner seconds later, but planted his header wide of the target, with Alvaro Morata also coming close to a winner.

KEY EVENTS

5’ - SHOULD SCORE: Ronaldo should score! The Real Madrid number seven is played clean through on goal by a one-two with Bale, but Alves makes a fantastic diving save to keep the score at 0-0. But Ronaldo will be disappointed he didn't score.

16’ - WOODWORK: Out of nowhere Valencia hit the bar! Feghouli swings a cross into the box looking for an unmarked Parejo at the back post, but he smashes his header onto the woodwork. Where was Carvajal?

42’ - CLOSE: Benzema comes close! Bale gets to the rebound from Ronaldo's shot and fizzes a cross into the near post for the French striker, but it comes to him a bit too fast and he directs it high and wide of the goal.

45’ - GOAL: The away team take the lead! Varane loses his man and all Mathieu has to do is stand his ground and head the ball into the nearly empty net!

55’ - CHANCE: Ronaldo comes very close! The ball falls to the edge of the box, where the Portuguese winger strikes it on the volley. It looks to be heading into the bottom corner, but Alves gets down to tip round the post.

59’ - EQUALISER: It's that man again! Ramos finds the goal when his side needs one most, just like he did in Munich. Ronaldo knocked it across goal and Ramos headed home.

64’ - GOAL: The former Real Madrid man scores a huge goal! The ball fizzes across the box from Feghouli, reaching Parejo on the left side of the box, who angles his shot into the bottom corner.

66’ - RONALDO MISS: Ronaldo score score! The Valencia defenders back off his and back off him until he makes his way into the penalty area. But in trying to side-foot his shot into the corner he gives Alves the chance to make the save.

77’ - SAVE: Alves denies Ronaldo once again! Bale wins a freekick right on the edge of the box after a fantastic dribbling run. Ronaldo smashes the freekick at goal, but the Valencia keeper stays strong to beat it away.

93’ - LATE GOAL: What a goal! Ronaldo finds the net with a nonchalant back heel flick on the volley. Can Real Madrid find a winner now? They have three minutes to do so!

95’ - HUGE CHANCE: What a chance for Ronaldo! The cross comes in from the right side, with the Real Madrid number seven rising highest. But he manages to put his header just past the post when he had the whole goal to aim at!

MATCHAST: FULL STATS AND COMMENTARY

KEY STATS

Angel Di Maria has created more chances per game than any other La Liga player this season, with 2.72.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer in La Liga with 31 goals (50 in all competitions) and now leads the race for the European Golden Boot.

Ronaldo scored his first league goal against Valencia at the Bernabeu since 2010.

TALKING POINT – Are Real Madrid’s title hopes all but over? Following Barcelona’s draw and Atletico’s defeat this weekend, this was the chance Real Madrid had been waiting for to drag themselves back into the thick of the title race. So although they showed great character to score late in the game, a point isn’t what they wanted, or needed.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Sofiane Feghouli, Valencia - The Algerian international controlled the midfield, which is no mean feat against a side like Real Madrid, and had an end product too. He set up the second goal for Dani Parejo and turned in the perfect box-to-box midfielder performance.

PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid – Lopez 6, Ramos 7, Varane 4, Marcelo 6, Carvajal 5, Di Maria 7, Casemiro 5, Alonso 5, Isco 6, Illarramendi 5, Bale 7, Ronaldo 8, Benzema 5, Morata 5.

Valencia – Alves 8, Costa 6, Mathieu 7, Bernat 5, Perreira 5, Vezo 5, Parejo 8, Feghouli 9, Fuego 6, Keita 7, Alcacer 6, Jonas 5, Vargas 5.

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