Cristiano Ronaldo rescued Real Madrid from another stumble at home on Saturday with the Portugal forward immediately scoring after his penalty kick was saved to secure a 3-2 win over Malaga.
Ronaldo got the 75th-minute winner by knocking in the ball following Malaga goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez's save. Jimenez had denied him on two clear chances in the first half before Ronaldo finally got his second league goal in 13 rounds this season.
The win left third-place Madrid seven points behind leader Barcelona, which plays second-place Valencia on Sunday.
Karim Benzema also netted just his second league goal of the season to put Madrid ahead in the ninth when he nodded in a rebound of Ronaldo's header that came off the crossbar.
Malaga hadn't scored a goal in all six of its previous league games away from home, but it leveled through Diego Rolan in the 18th by capitalizing on an error by Madrid's Toni Kroos. The Germany midfielder blundered with a back pass near his own area, and Sergio "Keko" Gontan pounced to send in a cross for unmarked Rolan to control with his chest and fire home.
Casemiro put Madrid ahead again before Malaga forward Gonzalo "Chory" Castro made it 2-2 in the 58th with a long-range strike that Madrid goalkeeper Kiko Casilla tried to get low to parry, but failed to keep out of his net.
Madrid was heading to another costly slip at its Santiago Bernabeu stadium —where it failed to win in the first three league matches this season — before substitute Luka Modric was tripped by Luis Hernandez in the area. That allowed Ronaldo to step up and take what turned out to be the winner.