Zinedine Zidane had Sergio Ramos to thank as the captain’s 10th goal of the season saw off Real Betis to take Real Madrid top of LaLiga.
Sergio Ramos scored a dramatic late winner as Real Madrid returned to the top of LaLiga with a 2-1 home victory over 10-man Real Betis.
Madrid took advantage of Barcelona’s shock loss to Deportivo La Coruna earlier on Sunday by coming from behind to win after it had looked like a dreadful Keylor Navas blunder would cost them dear.
The Santiago Bernabeu was stunned when Navas scored a bizarre own goal as he failed to deal with Antonio Sanabria’s shot midway through the first half.
Cristiano Ronaldo headed in his fifth goal in four league matches before the break, but it looked for a long time like Madrid would have to settle for a draw that would have kept them behind Barca.
That was until Betis’ Cristiano Piccini saw red and Ramos headed in his 10th goal of the season with nine minutes remaining to save Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Madrid are now two points clear of Barca with a game in hand, having overcome a sticky spell to win their last two league games.
Ronaldo was heavily involved in the early action, having a penalty claim turned down after clashing with German Pezzella before having a left-footed effort unconvincingly saved by ex-Madrid keeper Antonio Adan.
James Rodriguez, in as one of Zidane’s four changes, also tested Adan while Isco’s searing drive just missed the target from 25 yards.
But, after the hosts’ bright start, Navas featured in two major moments in quick succession midway through the first half.
Initially he was hugely fortunate to avoid punishment from referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz after racing out of his penalty area and taking down Darko Brasanac, the Betis midfielder furious when not even a free-kick was given after his path to goal was crudely blocked.
Then on 25 minutes, a Riza Durmisi cross from left set up Sanabria, whose low shot from 15 yards appeared to have been saved by Navas before he allowed the ball to squirm out of his grasp and knocked it over the line.