Real Madrid hang on for win at Rayo
Real Madrid's brittle defence nearly spoiled another tremendous performance from Cristiano Ronaldo in a 3-2 win at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
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Madrid remained six points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona but nearly blew a 3-0 lead in a frantic finish set off after it surrendered a pair of second-half penalties to Jonathan Viera.
Madrid played the first 53 minutes -- when Viera scored -- to near perfection, with Ronaldo opening after three minutes from a counterattack.
Karim Benzema headed home a 31st-minute cross from Gareth Bale, whose cleverness led to a second assist in the 48th when he found a streaking Ronaldo inside the area.
Earlier on Saturday, Real Sociedad crushed 10-man Osasuna 5-0 ahead of their must-win Champions League game against Manchester United.
Sociedad dominated the visitors with Ion Ansotegi, Inigo Martinez, and Antoine Griezmann all scoring through headers from set pieces, with the last coming after Osasuna defender Jordan Loties was shown a red card.
Haris Seferovic released Chori Castro to score in the 81st minute before capping the rout himself by scoring Sociedad's fifth with two minutes to play.
Loties was shown a straight red card as the last defender back after tripping Carlos Vela in the 49th minute.
Almeria striker Rodri scored a highly-contested goal with his hand to give his side all three points in a 1-0 win against Real Valladolid.
The controversial goal arrived eight minutes before the break. Suso put a cross into the six-yard box and Rodri slid in to meet it, converting the ball into the net with his hand.
The goal was fiercely contested by the Valladolid players and Rodri himself hesitated before celebrating, but referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez, who was suspended from duty last month after awarding a questionable penalty to Real Madrid at Elche, allowed it to stand.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.