Perhaps it was a high from their Champions League performance, but Cristiano Ronaldo spared Real Madrid with an incredible back-heel goal to save a point in the La Liga race in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Valencia.
Ronaldo and Madrid demolished Bayern Munich in the UCL semifinals, but Los Blancos missed a chance to pull ahead of Barcelona in goal differential and remain hot on Atletico Madrid’s trail with a victory. Instead, they maintain third place in La Liga with three matches left, and Valencia now takes over eighth from Celta Vigo by goal differential.
Los Blancos peppered Valencia’s attack with 32 total shots (11 on target), though it was Ronaldo’s heroics in the closing stages that they avoid an even deeper hole on the table.
Coming on for Illarramendi in the 46th, Angel Di Maria would assist Ronaldo with a cross that went behind the Portuguese, but allowed him the space to create the outstanding finish.
Madrid erased two one-goal deficits in the second half, with Ronaldo scoring his 31st goal of the season and notchinghis ninth assist, and Sergio Ramos equalizing the first-time.
Valencia’s Jeremy Matheiu put his squad up 1-0 before halftime by heading home midfielder Daniel Parejo’s cornerkick cross in the 44th minute.
Parejo unfortunately committed a hand ball in the 58th minute, which allowed Madrid position for Ronaldo to head a cross to defender Ramos for the initial equalizer.
Parejo would make up for his error by putting Valencia up again with his low, left-footed shot to the bottom right corner of the net in the 65th.