Sergio Ramos’ late penalty put Real Madrid four points clear towards the top of La Liga with a nervy 1-0 win over Getafe.
The hosts never fully got to grips with their visitors’ high intensity, physical pressing game, but came closest to breaking the deadlock before the break when Vinicus connected with Ferland Mendy’s low cross simply to be denied by a stunning David Soria save.
However, as Getafe begun to tire in the final third of the overall game and Real started to take over, Mathias Olivera caught Dani Carvajal within the box and gave Real the chance to just take the lead from 12 yards.
Ramos made no mistake from the spot 11 minutes from time to supply the hosts three points they barely deserved, but a victory that offers them more breathing space ahead of second-placed Barcelona with only five games now remaining.
Real Madrid edge towards title with narrow win
Getafe have drawn plenty of plaudits in La Liga in 2010 under Jose Bordalas and showed why from the off at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium. David Timor’s booking only 15 seconds in was a rash one, but it set the tone as the visitors frustrated the league leaders throughout the opening half.
They forced the initial two real saves of note too, the first rather fortunately when Olivera’s flick from the free-kick hit Xabier Etxeita and headed for the far corner, where Thibaut Courtois turned it behind well.
He was called in to action again as Jaime Mata bent one in to his human anatomy moments later, but Real Madrid’s quality had to eventually come through. The game had its first glimpse via a typically electric break from the hosts, when Mendy’s excellent run and cross was stabbed goalwards by Vinicus, and kept out by a world-class stop from Soria.
He needed to be at his most readily useful again when Ramos’ cross to the rear post was volleyed goalwards by Isco, with a powerful hand had a need to tip the ball behind.
After the break, an ever more attritional game was broken when Mata fired just over from the edge of the box, while Karim Benzema was also off target when unmarked on the turn from 12 yards.
It would take until 12 minutes from the finish for as soon as of quality required to break the deadlock to appear, when Carvajal’s turn inside Olivera spelt trouble for the visitors as a trailing leg brought him crashing to the bottom.
Ramos gave Soria the eyes from the spot and beat the goalkeeper for his eighth goal in his last 11 games, and while Getafe continued their high pressing game before last, they might not find a method to test Courtois’ goal as Real held on for a vital win.
League leaders Real Madrid travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday; Kick-off at 1pm.
Osasuna are Getafe’s next opponents. They visit them on Sunday too; Kick-off at 6.30pm.