Cristiano Ronaldo scored two headers as Real Madrid won 4-3 against Real Valladolid at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho’s side were looking to bounce back from their midweek UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Borussia Dortmund but found themselves 1-0 down after eight minutes.
Angel Di Maria restored parity and Ronaldo put Madrid ahead but they were pegged back after a goal from Javi Guerra. However, goals from Kaka and Ronaldo in the second half were enough to see off Valladolid.
Mourinho was without Sergio Ramos after he suffered a hamstring injury in the 4-3 aggregate defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, while Miroslav Dukic replaced Daniel Larsson with Omar Ramos.
Oscar Gonzalez gave the visitors a shock lead after just eight minutes when he intercepted a poor pass to Ricardo Carvalho and raced into the box to finish under Diego Lopez.
Luka Modric flashed a shot narrowly wide of goal and Kaka blasted over the crossbar in the 13th minute as the hosts searched for an early equaliser.
Kaka was at the heart of all Madrid’s attacks and the Brazilian playmaker forced a strong save from Jaime with a strike from outside the area.
The home side finally drew level a few moments later when Di Maria’s strike from the right took a cruel deflection of Valladolid defender Marc Valiente at the near post.
Ronaldo went close with one of his trademark free-kicks before Jaime made a great instinctive stop to deny Pepe’s powerful header from the resulting corner.
However, Jaime could not prevent Ronaldo from putting Madrid ahead in the 32nd minute as the Portuguese winger headed home Di Maria‘s precise cross.
But Valladolid equalised less than three minutes later through Javi Guerra, who bundled the ball into the back of the net following a great low cross from Oscar.
As the action flowed from end to end, Ronaldo then hit the crossbar with a fierce free-kick, after Modric was felled by Patrick Ebert, but the two sides went into half-time level.
Madrid were back in front less than five minutes after the restart through Kaka, who collected a loose ball inside the area and thumped past Jaime for his fifth goal of the season.
As the visitors ran out of steam, Ronaldo opened up a two-goal lead for Madrid in the 70th minute when he found the back of the net with his second header of the game, this time from a Mesut Ozil corner.
Lopez made an important double save with less than 10 minutes remaining to deny Alberto Bueno’s dipping strike from distance and then Oscar on the follow up.
The Spanish keeper was almost caught out by a chipped shot from Oscar near the halfway line before a stunning volley by substitute Lluis Sastre ensured a tense finish to the match.
However, Madrid managed to hold on for three points, which means Barcelona will be unable to claim the Liga title against Real Betis on Sunday.