Sergio Ramos’ late penalty put Real Madrid four points clear at 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 only to be denied by a stunning David Soria save.
However, as Getafe began to tire in the final third of the game and Real started to dominate, Mathias Olivera caught Dani Carvajal inside the box and gave Real the chance to take the lead from 12 yards.
Ramos made no mistake from the spot 11 minutes from time to give the hosts three points they barely deserved, but a victory that gives 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 this season 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 first two real saves of note too, the first rather fortuitously when Olivera’s flick from a free-kick hit Xabier Etxeita and headed for the far corner, where Thibaut Courtois turned it behind well.
He was called into action again as Jaime Mata bent one into his body moments later, but Real Madrid’s quality had to eventually come through. The game had its first glimpse through 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 best again when Ramos’ cross to the back post was volleyed goalwards by Isco, with a strong hand needed to tip the ball behind.
After the break, an increasingly 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 end for the moment 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 ground.
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 until the last, they could not find a way 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.