Real Madrid were far more dominant than the scoreline showed as Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero was outstanding but couldn't stop Angel Di María's accidental shot early in the second half and a late penalty by Cristiano Ronaldo.
The opening minutes at the Bernabéu pretty quickly showed that Malaga were out to both defend and try to disrupt Madrid with physical play. It was a good idea in theory but there's an inherent danger in allowing Los Blancos to have so much of the ball.
Cristiano Ronaldo had two great chances in the opening 15 minutes but was unable to give his side a lead. In the 8th minute hit skipped a shot off the crossbar after Sami Khedira forced a turnover in the attacking third before laying the ball off for Álvaro Morata who found Ronaldo in space with a short pass.
Six minutes later on a counter attack, Angel Di María setup Ronaldo who'd managed to sneak behind the Malaga defense. The striker's shot rolled just wide of the far post though.
Next it was Morata's turn to toy with putting his side ahead. His wide open header in the 18th minute when straight into the arms of Willy Caballero and three minutes later he actually but the ball past Caballero but the offside flag was up. He may not have scored but his movement made the home fans quite pleased.
Morata looked sure to score in the 35th minute after getting around his marker and going to up meet a soft cross from the left by Marcelo. Caballero had other plans, jumping and throwing out all four limbs while somehow managing to block the shot with his hand and control the rebound.
Malaga finally got a chance in the 42nd minute when Eliseu jumped forward onto a bouncing ball across the Madrid area but his shot whistled just wide of the post.
After their Herculean effort in the first half to deny Madrid, Malaga were undone in the opening minute of the second half. Di María sent an in-swinging cross from near the right touchline that was meant for Ronaldo. While he did attempt to get his head on the ball, it didn't matter as it bounced once and found its way past Caballero inside the far post. Completely unintended and totally lucky, but Madrid were happy to take it none the less.
Madrid's relentless pressure continued throughout the second half but a combination of Cabellero making highlight reel save after highlight reel save and Malaga playing the offside trap exceptionally well kept the match close.
In the 90th minute Gareth Bale was brought down inside the box, giving Madrid a penalty. Ronaldo casually approached the ball and fired a low shot that squeaked between the post and Cabellero's hand to double the lead in stoppage time.
Real Madrid: López, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Illarramendi, Khedira, Di María (Jese 81'), Isco (Modric 73'), Ronaldo, Morata (Bale 76')
Goals: Di Maria (46'), Ronaldo (91')
Malaga: Willy, Gámez, Sánchez, Welington, Antunes (Darder 77'), Portillo (Santa Cruz 77'), Camacho, Tissone, Eliseu, Samuel (Anderson 70'), El Hamdaoui