Karim Benzema scored two late goals on his return from injury to help Real Madrid beat Real Valladolid away from home as their La Liga campaign resumed following the World Cup break.
The Ballon d’Or holder, who made his first appearance since missing the showpiece event with an injury, scored a penalty in the 83rd minute before adding his second in the 89th after a back-and-forth match.
A minute’s silence was held before the kick-off in memory of Pele, who passed away at the age of 82. The match itself was full of chances for both sides with Jordi Masip of Real Valladolid and Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid making some splendid saves to keep their side in the contest.
Masip was the first to answer when called upon, denying Vinicius Jr in the 17th minute before Courtois equalled his feat in the 36th minute when he diverted Alvaro Aguado’s goal-bound effort headed for the top corner.
The Belgian rescued his side once again in the second half keeping out Sergio Leon’s header.
His heroics in the goal paid off when Real were awarded a penalty in the 83rd minute for handball by Javi Sanchez. The contentious decision did not sit well with the home team and saw Leon sent off for dissent.
Benzema stepped up and converted with ease to give his side a narrow lead before ensuring the win with a placed shot in the dying stages of the game.
The win takes Real to 38 points, one above the previous leaders Barcelona who have a game in hand.