Cristiano Ronaldo earned his third La Liga brace of the year, Gareth Bale chipped in two assists, and Real Madrid escaped with a 3-2 victory over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night at Campo De Vallecas.
Los Blancos held a 3-0 lead after Ronaldo scored his second goal of the match in the 48th minute of play, but consecutive fouls by defenders Pepe and Marcelo gave Vallecano striker Jonathan Viera two penalty opportunities and goals. Madrid was shown five yellow cards throughout the match, but picked up its fifth consecutive victory against Vallecano.
Despite a major shot discrepancy of 23 to 11, Viera and the rest of the Vallecano attack thoroughly tested Madrid keeper Diego Lopez. The Spanish came up with four saves, his second highest mark of the season, while Vallecano's Ruben also made two saves on the night.
Ronaldo now has 13 goals on the season, and Bale four assists. Karim Benzema recorded his fifth goal with a header off a perfect cross by Bale from the right wing to the middle of the Vallecano area in the 31st minute.
In the third minute, Ronaldo started the scoring by slipping out for a fastbreak and accepting a deft through ball from Luka Modric on the left wing. Ronaldo then scuttled a low shot to the bottom right corner, and Madrid appeared to have the game in hand.
Three minutes into the second half Bale chased down a ball on the Vallecano side, and found Ronaldo streaking to the net for the brace.
Viera drew the first foul on Pepe in the 52nd minute, and subsequently punched in the penalty, then did the same three minutes later when Marcelo came flying through the air with a rough foul.