Cristiano Ronaldo missed one penalty, converted another and scored with a stunning volley as Real Madrid laboured to a 3-1 win over Real Sociedad on Wednesday afternoon.
The unconvincing victory sent Real top of the La Liga table, but they are only one point ahead of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona – who both play later today and have one and two games in hand respectively.
Ronaldo’s first penalty, which he skied over the crossbar, came on 25 minutes, after a debatable foul on Karim Benzema.
It was the 71st penalty kick of Ronaldo’s career. This was his first ever ‘fully off-target’ spot kick. All of his previous efforts had either found the net, hit the woodwork or forced a save.
Ronaldo didn’t have to wait too long for another chance from 12 yards.
The referee pointed to the spot again, just before half time, after Gareth Bale’s cross struck the hand of Sociedad left-back Yuri Berchiche.
Ronaldo made no mistake this time, placing the ball to the left of the goalkeeper, who dived the correct way.
Sociedad, who fall to 14th place in the table because of Malaga’s 1-0 win at Levante, drew level early in the second half as Bruma found the top corner in style.
However, Real retook the lead on 67 minutes, when Ronaldo smashed home a brilliant left-footed volley after pulling into deep space from a corner. Lucas Vazquez then sealed the win in the dying moments, scoring his first goal for the senior side following a lovely pass from Bale.
Player ratings (out of 10)
Real Madrid: Navas 7; Danilo 7, Pepe 7, Nacho 6, Marcelo 7; Modric 6 (Casemiro – 88 mins – n/a), Kroos 6, Rodriguez 4 (Kovacic – 59 mins – 6); Bale 8, Benzema 6 (Vazquez – 76 mins – 7), Ronaldo 7
Sociedad: Rulli 8; Elustondo 5, C Martinez 5, I Martinez 5, Yuri 4; Xabi Prieto 6, Illarramendi 6, Bergara 6, Canales 5 (Pardo – 45 mins – 7); Agirretxe 5 (Bruma – 18 mins – 7), Jonathan 5 (Vela – 68 mins – 6)