Valencia's

Valencia's players argue with the referee during their Spanish first division soccer match against Real Madrid in Valencia. Picture - Reuters.

Mestalla witnessed a thriller on Saturday, although much of the crowd went home unhappy, after Real Madrid defeated Valencia 3-2 in the Spanish Primera Division.

It was a see-saw affair with Madrid twice having their two-goal lead cut down to one. Karim Benzema opened the scoring when Xabi Alonso found his run with a free kick near the half-way line. The goal was expertly taken, with two touches, the second of which was a volley to the back of the net.

The score-line stayed the same till late in the game, with both sides guilty of missing chances. However, Madrid doubled their lead through Sergio Ramos' header off a corner on 72 minutes, seemingly taking the game away from the home side.

Valencia battled back, however, with Roberto Soldado scoring three minutes later, with a half-volley. Any hopes from the goal, however, was quashed when Cristiano Ronaldo restored Madrid's two-goal lead with Valencia keeper Diego Alves in no-man's land.

In tune with the thrilling nature of the game, Soldado doubled his tally four minutes later to set the game on its way to a tense finale.

The final score may well have been different had Soldado not had a further goal chalked off for offside, or had Valencia's penalty appeal been successful or even if luck had played its part and their strike which went out off the bar had gone in.

It wasn't to be though, and Madrid took three important points in their toughest encounter yet and maintained their lead at the top of the Spanish table.