Real Madrid closed the gap on Atletico Madrid to three points at the top of La Liga, battling to beat Real Valladolid 1-0 on Saturday evening.
Los Blancos almost fell behind early on, and had to rely on Thibaut Courtois to produce a stunning double save to deny Saidy Janko’s deflected strike at goal. Madrid recovered and took a hold of the game, although they failed to find a first-half breakthrough.
Mariano Diaz came closest for the champions, twice seeing his goal ruled out for offside, as the two teams entered the dressing rooms even at the break. Courtois was the hero at the start of the second half too, repelling a vicious volley after Ferland Mendy inadvertently crossed the ball into his own box.
And the Belgian’s heroics were rewarded at the other end of the pitch, when Casemiro rose highest to nod home Toni Kroos’ wicked free-kick. Madrid saw out the match to claim three massive points and take another step in their pursuit of league leaders Atleti.