Cristiano Ronaldo picked the right time to score his first league goal of the season as his late winner made the difference in a narrow 2-1 win for Real Madrid over Getafe on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez in Getafe.
Karim Benzema gave the visitors a first-half lead, only to see Getafe equalise thanks to a Marco Llorente own goal. Just when it looked like Real would drop points for the fourth time this season, Ronaldo came to the rescue and scored in the 85th minute for the win.
In light of the recently completed international break, Real boss Zinedine Zidane made a number of changes to his starting XI. Kiko Casilla was in goal for Keylor Navas, Lucas Vazquez and Marcos Llorente helped shore up the midfield, while for the first time this season – due to suspensions and injuries — Ronaldo and Benzema started up front together.
Benzema looked like he had hardly missed a beat and some clever juggling set the table for Ronaldo’s first chance which forced a diving stop from Getafe stopper Vicente Guaita. Later in the half it was Ronaldo setting up Benzema with a chance with a slick back-heel, but the French striker rifled his effort over the crossbar.
Getafe had been resolute in their defending for most of the half by keeping Zidane’s men from operating in space, but an error from Fajr changed things. The Getafe unintentionally played a back-pass right into the path of Benzema, who raced into the area and fired a right-footer in past Guaita to hand Real the 1-0 lead.
At the other end Getafe had hardly troubled the Real defence, but in an odd way that worked to the hosts’ advantage, as shortly before the hour mark they scratched out the equaliser through Jorge Molina.
On Getafe’s first true chance of the match, some slow-reacting defending from Real allowed Getafe to push forward and a cross from the right took an initial deflection off Nacho before an ever-so-slight touch off the foot of Llorente resulted in an own goal to make it 1-1.
After dominating the whole match, Real could feel hard-done by their bad luck, but there was still a full half-hour to play, which is an eternity for a team like Los Blancos. Yet the goal was unnerving for the illustrious visitors, while Getafe grew in confidence and started to believe that a winner could be had.
Zidane countered by making a double-switch, bringing on Isco and Theo for Lucas Vazquez and Marcelo, respectively. Almost immediately Ronaldo was presented with a chance to give his side the lead off a free kick, but he failed to get fully on the end of a cross and missed from just two yards out.
Real had one more scare to withstand – a right-footer from Arambarri that sailed wide – before making their final push for a winning goal. It was one-way traffic in the final 10 minutes, with Getafe deploying five men on the back-line, but all it took was one small hole for Ronaldo to exploit to score the match-winner.
The Portuguese superstar took advantage of a Getafe defender playing him onside, and the pass from Isco was perfect for Ronaldo to run onto and fire in past Guaita for the 2-1 lead and the three points.
Real return to action on Tuesday at home in the Champions League versus Tottenham.
1.- Getafe: Guaita; Damian, Djene, Cala, Antunes; Markel Bergara, Arambarri (Bruno, min. 84); Alvaro Jimenez (Portillo, min. 14), Fajr, Amath (Lacen, min. 68); Jorge Molina.
2.- Real Madrid: Casilla; Achraf, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo (Theo, min. 72); Lucas Vazquez (Isco, min. 72), Kroos, Llorente, Asensio; Benzema (Borja Mayoral, min. 81), Cristiano Ronaldo.
Goals: 0-1, min. 39: Benzema; 1-1, min. 56: Llorente (og); 1-2, min. 85: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Referee: Martinez Munuera (Valencia).
Yellow cards: Arambarri (Min. 33) for Getafe, Kroos (Min. 49) for Getafe, Nacho (Min. 58) for Real Madrid, Lacen (Min. 85) for Getafe, Theo (Min. 94) for Real Madrid.
Red cards: None.
Stadium: Coliseum Alfonso Perez.