Twice Madrid took the lead and twice Valencia answered, but the third time was the charm for Real Madrid as a Jesé goal in the 82nd minute helped Los Blancos escape with three important points. The win keeps Madrid close to Barcelona and Atlético Madrid as the league enters the winter break.
The first 30 minutes of the first half were all Real Madrid. They had more of the ball, they created chances, basically they did everything except score. Cristiano Ronaldo had two great chances but was unable to connect on either. Finally in the 28th minute, it was Ángel Di María who started the scoring with a bit of individual brilliance.
Marcelo found Di María with a long cross pitch pass that the winger brought down before taking on two Valencia defenders. Di María split between them, cutting back into a pocket of space and rocketing a shot past Vicente Guaita to put Los Blancos in front, 1-0.
Despite showing virtually nothing on the attack, Valencia wasted little time riding the equalizer.
In the 34th minute, João Pereira got by Di María on the left side and fired a cross in the Madrid box. Pablo Piatti had gotten in front of Sergio Ramos and headed the ball past Diego López to even the match at 1-1.
Real Madrid fired right back, retaking the lead thanks to Ronaldo in the 40th minute. After Di María earned a debatable set piece in a dangerous spot, he fired in a free kick that found Ronaldo unmarked in the middle of the Valencia box. The Portuguese striker headed the ball down off the ground and past Guaita on the bounce. Replay shows Ronaldo was slightly offside but the linesman kept his flag down.
Valencia equalized for the second time on the day in the 62nd minute thanks to some more poor marking from Ramos. Jérémy Mathieu reacted faster and got up ahead of Ramos as Daniel Parejo delivered a corner into the mixer in front of López. It appeared the Madrid keeper wasn't sure whether to go after the ball or allow his defenders to deal with it and the hesitation proved costly. Mathieu's short range header went through the outstretched arms of López, brining Valencia even at 2-2.
A late substitute, Jesé saved Madrid, grabbing a match-winner in the 82nd minute, firing a low show just between Guaita and the near post. Taking nothing away from Jesé's effort, it really never should have been a goal as the Valencia keeper just didn't play the shot well and failed to make a save he's expected to make.
Valencia: Guaita, Ruiz, Pereira, Bernat, Mathieu, Piatti (Guardado 80'), Romeu, Feghouli, Parejo (Banega 84'), Cartabia (Canlaes 62'), Jonas
Goals: Piatti (34'), Mathieu (62')
Real Madrid: López, Nacho, Ramos, Arbeloa (Carvajal 80'), Marcelo, Alonso, Modrić, Di María (Illarramendi 87'), Isco (Jese 73'), Ronaldo, Benzema
Goals: Di María (28'), Ronaldo (40'), Jese (82')