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Real Madrid 2 Valencia 1: Cristiano Ronaldo scores and misses a penalty as Los Blancos go top of La Liga

Hard-fought win takes Zinedine Zidane's side three points clear of Barcelona in La Liga title race

CRISTIANO RONALDO and Marcelo fired Real Madrid three points clear at the top of the La Liga table.

The Portugal flier scored the opener with a first-half bullet header as Los Blancos got off to a good start.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his headed opener

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Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his headed opener

But after Luka Modric was brought down in the area, he saw his penalty saved.


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And Daniel Parejo made him pay as he sent a free-kick into the top corner to make it 1-1 with 10 minutes to play.

Hopeful Barcelona fans were sent crashing back to earth, however, as Real hit back and Marcelo restored their lead.

Ronaldo had a chance to add a second but missed is spot-kick

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Ronaldo had a chance to add a second but missed his spot-kick

Real star Ronaldo rises to power his side into the lead

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Real star Ronaldo rises to power his side into the lead

Zidane recalled Ronaldo, Modric, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema after resting them in midweek.

But despite being back at full-strength the title favourites almost slipped up.

Barca face Catalan rivals Espanyol tonight knowing victory will see them move ahead of Real on goal difference.

But Zidane’s side have a game in hand – giving them the edge in the race despite their injury-time defeat in El Clasico.

Real Madrid fans crowd the streets to welcome their team bus into the stadium

Real Madrid celebrate Marcelo's late winner which could hand them the title

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Real Madrid celebrate Marcelo's late winner, which could hand them the title

Luka Modric goes down to win Real a penalty

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Luka Modric goes down to win Real a penalty

Marceloa was the hero for Los Blancos, who lead Barca by three points

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Marcelo was the hero for Los Blancos, who lead Barca by three points

Lionel Messi's late goal secured a narrow win over 10-man Real, who lost Gareth Bale to injury.

Los Blancos travel to Granada next Saturday while Barcelona entertain Villarreal.

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