Real Madrid vs Malaga: 5 key talking points
Scoreline: Real Madrid 3-2 Malaga
Scorers: Benzema 9' Rolan 18' Casemiro 21' Castro 58' Ronaldo 76'
In a fixture that was expected to go all but one way, Malaga grafted away and kept their noses to the grindstone until the very last minute as Ronaldo's scrappy effort from the penalty spot in the 76th minute proved to be just about enough to seal all 3 points for Los Blancos.
Earlier, Real Madrid got off to a flyer after Benzema tapped in from point-blank range after Ronaldo's header came back off the post. A terrible give-away by Toni Kroos in the 18th minute led to Malaga's equalizer as Diego Rolan stayed calm inside the area to find the bottom left corner.
Real Madrid snatched their lead back immediately as Casemiro headed home from a corner. Chory Castro's spectacular effort from 25 yards out breathed more vigour into the game. Real Madrid were desperate to get the goal that would win them the game and they were rewarded with a spot kick in the 76th minute after Luka Modric was brought down inside the area.
Cristiano Ronaldo's effort from the spot was saved by Roberto. But he could only parry it back into the path of Madrid's main man who sent the ball into a cuddle with the netting.
Here's what we learnt from the game.
#5 Lack of defensive stability hurt Real Madrid
Though Malaga were audacious and inventive going forward, it was Real Madrid's bungling at the back that gifted them both their goals.
While Sergio Ramos is not exactly famous for being a stoic at the back, his moxie and absolute irreverence for opposition attacks were sorely missed. Raphael Varane had to lend an arm to the young Vallejo who got himself into trouble one too many times.
Toni Kroos gave the ball away cheaply and Malaga made the best out of it with Diego Rolan keeping his calm and sending the ball to the back of the net with relative ease. He did so because Vallejo afforded him space and time inside the box and there is simply no excuse for doing that.
Vallejo was found to be erratic once again as he gave too much space for Chory Castro to unleash a strike from 25 yards out.
Real Madrid need Sergio Ramos and tonight's match was a testament to that fact. Also, Kiko Casilla has no business donning a Real Madrid jersey.