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Real Madrid beat Malaga to keep the heat on Barcelona

Modified 19 Apr 2015, 10:01 IST
James Rodriguez scores
James Rodriguez scored the second for Real Madrid after Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier missed from the spot

Madrid, April 19 (IANS): Real Madrid kept up the chase behind FC Barcelona in the race for the La Liga title as goals from Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez and Cristiano Ronaldo gave them a hard-fought win against Malaga, a media report said on Sunday.

The win, on Saturday, came at a price and Real Madrid suffered a setback before the 10-minute mark when Gareth Bale was forced to leave the pitch with what looked to be a calf injury to be replaced by Javier Hernandez, reported Xinhua.

Nevertheless, the home side took the lead after 24 minutes when Sergio Ramos, who could have been in an offside position, headed in a free kick taken by Cristiano Ronaldo.

As usual Real Madrid tried to build on the goal and Carlos Kameni had to be alert to keep out a shot from James Rodriguez, although Darder should have hit the target for Malaga when left with a clear shot on goal only to fire over the bar.

Luka Modric had to leave the pitch in the second half after having been on the receiving end of a hard tackle and Carlo Ancelotti decided to replace him with Asier Illaramendi with one eye on Wednesday's Champions league tie at home to Atletico Madrid.

Malaga were looking comfortable against a home side who lacked fluidity, but Ronaldo had the chance to seal the win in the 67th minute when James was fouled inside the box. However, the striker hit his spot kick against the post and Malaga breathed again.

They didn't breathe for long as James did double Madrid's lead shortly afterwards after swapping passes with Ronaldo and Isco and although Kameni got a hand on his shot he was unable to keep it out.

Juanmi brought some emotion into the game with a goal in the 71st minute and Malaga had Madrid looking groggy in the closing minutes until Hernandez led an injury time counter-attack to leave Ronaldo needing to merely tap home from close range to seal the win.

Published 19 Apr 2015, 09:50 IST
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