Real Madrid needed two late goals, including the winner two minutes from stoppage time, to see off a tremendous effort from last place Deportivo La Coruña.
There wasn't much action in the first quarter of an hour as Depor did a good job holding their own against Madrid. Los Blancos' attack seemed to be missing a needed link between the defense and the forwards with neither Mesut Özil or Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch.
Depor turned on the pressure in the 31st minute when Riki showed some tremendous ball control skill, flipping the ball up post a defender and volleying a shot as it came down. Unfortunately, the shot was well off target over the cross bar. A minute later, Pizzi tried a curling shot from outside the box that forced forced Diego Lopez to make a fully extended diving effort. The ball went wide off the post, but Depor was getting closer.
In the 35th minute, La Liga's last placed side took the lead thanks to a great individual effort from Riki and a mistake by Lopez. Riki took the ball on the run down the left wing and sent a precise shot that moved upwards, fooling Lopez who expected it to go low. The ball whizzed over the keeper and into the back of the net to give Depor a 1-0 advantage.
Madrid answered immediately with pressure but again it was Depor who looked more dangerous. In the 40th minute, Depor hit Madrid on the counter and Pizzi sent a shot that Lopez had no hope of stopping.Fortunately for the keeper, Marcelo was at the far post and cleared the shot away from danger.
Things started to turn around in the 57th minute when Mourinho made a triple change, bringing Ronaldo, Özil and Sami Khedira into the match.
Depor held strong until the 73rd minute when Madrid cycled the ball to Kaká 20-yards away from the goal and his low show through traffic beat Daniel Aranzubía to pull Madrid even at 1-1.
With just three minutes left to play Madrid broke Depor's heart as Gonzalo Higuaín scored the match winner. Kaká started the play with a through ball to Cristiano Ronaldo on the left side. Aranzubía raced over to cover the near post but Ronaldo centered the ball into the box to a wide open Higuaín for an easy tap-in.
Just because it's not a Madrid game these days without red card, Ángel Di María was shown a second yellow card in the final minute of regular time and was sent off.