Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Raul’s club goalscoring record as his double gave Real Madrid a 2-0 win at 10-man Malmo in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Portuguese star reached his 500th career goal and netted for the first time in four matches by capping off a clinical counter-attack with a lethal first-half finish.
Malmo missed a golden opportunity to equalise when Markus Rosenberg headed wide in the second half, before their chances were effectively ended when Yoshimar Yotun received a second yellow card.
Ronaldo had late chances to score a second and equal Raul’s record, but in-form home goalkeeper Johan Wiland appeared to have made him wait for that honour with a string of fine saves.
However, the forward prodded home a last-minute second to draw level at the top of the Santiago Bernabeu scoring charts, meaning he will have the chance to break the record in the derby against Atletico Madrid this weekend.
The victory puts Madrid on six points from their first two Group A games, while the Swedish hosts remain pointless having lost to Paris Saint-Germain last time out.
Madrid were still without Gareth Bale, Danilo, Pepe, Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez, while Jese Rodriguez, Marcelo and Luka Modric dropped to the substitutes’ bench ahead of the crucial clash with Atletico as Alvaro Arbeloa, Casemiro and Mateo Kovacic came in.
Anton Tinnerholm and Rosenberg both forced Keylor Navas into comfortable stops from distance as Malmo made a steady start to the match.
Madrid attempted to seize control and threatened through Ronaldo, but Wiland repelled the visiting captain’s effort after Karim Benzema had created the opening, before palming away a long-range shot from the lively Portuguese attacker.
On 29 minutes, the first goal of the match – and the 500th of Ronaldo’s career – arrived. The home defence was criminally exposed as Madrid launched a counter-attack and the 30-year-old clinically beat Wiland after Isco had slipped his pass through the legs of the retreating Yotun.
It was almost two for Madrid shortly before half-time when Malmo failed to take multiple opportunities to head the ball clear and Dani Carvajal lashed a powerful volley against the crossbar.
The visitors continued to look the most likely to find the next goal after the break, with another chance coming when Benzema’s cross was chested down by Arbeloa and Kovacic was only just off-target from the edge of the area.
Rafael Benitez made a tactical switch midway through the second half, bringing on Modric for Benzema which moved Ronaldo into a more central role.
At the other end, Malmo continued to stay in the game and wasted a golden chance to equalise.
An excellent cross from Tinnerholm on the right appeared to lay it on a plate for Rosenberg – who had found space behind Raphael Varane – to head home, but the veteran striker missed the target with his downward header.
The home side’s hopes were all but over moments later when substitute Lucas Vazquez was body-checked by Yotun, who had already been booked in the first half, with the defender being handed a second yellow.
The victory was almost sealed for Madrid when Casemiro found Ronaldo, whose quickfire shot on the turn was goalbound before Wiland dived to push it to safety.
Ronaldo came even closer to equalling Raul’s club goalscoring record with five minutes remaining, but Wiland made an even better save to tip his shot wide after Modric had sent his team-mate through on goal.
Not to be denied, the forward’s moment finally arrived in the 90th minute. Carvajal played in Vazquez, whose square cross was converted by Ronaldo from close-range for his 323rd Madrid goal.