Real Madrid set new club record against Malaga with 16th straight win
Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid re-wrote the club's record books after beating Malaga 2-1 to record their 16th successive win in all competitions.
Goals from Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale proved decisive as the European champions continued their phenomenal run of form which has seen them brush aside every opponent since going down to Atletico Madrid on September 13.
Madrid were made to sweat a bit at the end after losing former Malaga midfielder Isco to a red card before seeing Roque Santa Cruz pull a goal back in stoppage time, but they held on for a win that lifts them five points clear at the Primera Division summit.
And in truth, Madrid should have been out of sight by that late stage, and would have been but for an inspired performance from Malaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni.
Madrid's midweek Champions League triumph at Basle saw them match the club record of 15 successive wins, which was set first in the 1960/61 season and then equalled during the 2011/12 campaign.
However, they knew Malaga would be no pushovers as they chased a place in the history books, with the Andalusian side unbeaten at home this season and having won five on the trot before last weekend's loss at champions Atletico.
Madrid were on the offensive right from the start, though, and Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo were both denied by good saves from Kameni before Benzema opened the scoring in the 18th minute.
Ronaldo beat his marker down the left before drilling in a low cross that Benzema poked home from six yards out.
Kameni parried another effort from Ronaldo on the half-hour as Madrid sought a second goal, and the Cameroon international was called on again to deny Bale just before the break.
Madrid continued to push forward after half-time, with Bale heading just over before Kameni produced more heroics, this time to race out and dive bravely at the feet of Isco.
Madrid, as usual, were looking a constant threat going forward but Malaga also had their moments and they twice gave the visitors a scare when Iker Casillas spilled shots from distance by Jose Recio and Samu, with the Spain keeper needing to react quickly to deny Santa Cruz on the follow-up both times.
In between those two incidents, Ronaldo should have made it 2-0 after being gifted the ball by a terrible defensive mistake but, when completely unmarked on the penalty spot, the Portugal international again found Kameni in top form.
Madrid did finally manage to double their lead with seven minutes left, though, when Ronaldo flicked on a long-ball from Marcelo into Bale's path and the world's most expensive player raced into the area before smashing a right-footed shot past Kameni.
That should have made the closing stages comfortable for the visitors, but they suffered a setback when playmaker Isco picked up a harsh-looking second yellow card for a challenge on Samu with four minutes to go.
Malaga then halved the deficit when Santa Cruz looped a header over Casillas, but there was not enough time after that for the hosts to grab an equaliser and deny Madrid their place in the history books.