Madrid pay penalty for Ronaldo miss
MALAGA 1 REAL MADRID 1
Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty as Real Madrid slipped even further behind leaders Barcelona in the Primera Division title race by drawing 1-1 at Malaga.
The Portuguese headed the Merengues in front late in the first half at La Rosaleda but just a minute later had a spot-kick saved by Carlos Kameni, and in the second half Malaga grabbed a deserved equaliser through centre-back Raul Albentosa.
The hosts might even have snatched a winner late on had it not been for some great goalkeeping by Madrid's Keylor Navas, but Zinedine Zidane's side fall nine points behind Barcelona with 13 games left of the campaign.
Madrid went into the game buoyed by their 2-0 win at Roma but wary of their two previous trips to Andalusia - a 1-1 draw at Real Betis and a narrow 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Granada.
Zidane was forced to start Nacho at centre-back as Raphael Varane was suspended and Pepe injured, while the Frenchman dropped James Rodriguez in favour of Jese, who scored the second goal against Roma after coming off the bench.
Jese and former Malaga midfielder Isco were Madrid's brightest players early on, drawing fouls from the hosts and creating danger every time they went forward.
Jese had Madrid's first clear chance but Kameni came out quickly to smother. Then Isco went for goal from range but lifted his shot well over the crossbar.
It was the beginning of a flurry of chances for both sides. Juanpi won the ball back in Madrid's half and made for the box but could only shoot straight at Navas. Then Ricardo Horta took advantage of more uncertainty in Madrid's area but missed the target with just Navas to beat.
At the other end, Jese was clean through against Kameni again after latching onto a ball from Marcelo but Kameni saved with his feet.
Malaga squandered two more opportunities and then were harshly punished at the other end as Ronaldo headed Toni Kroos' free-kick into the far corner from an offside position.
Barely a minute later the Portuguese was felled by Weligton and offered an opportunity to score again from the spot but Kameni guessed correctly and dived to his left to repel the spot-kick.
Malaga should have levelled before the break when Duje Cop was played in in the area, but Navas stuck out a foot to send the ball spinning up and Ramos had to race back to head it over.
Madrid continued to leak chances in the second half and it took another fine save from Navas to prevent Nacho from putting through his own net.
Malaga finally levelled when Recio played Weligton in down the left and the centre-back's cross was allowed to roll across the box, where Albentosa lashed into the net.
Malaga could have won the match, Navas again coming to the Merengues' aid by tipping a header from Charles over the bar, and at the other end Ronaldo was denied a late winner by a block by Brazilian centre-back Weligton.