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Ronaldo Rescues Real Madrid Again

ronaldoCristiano Ronaldo scored deep in stoppage-time to cap Real Madrid’s incredible 3-2 comeback victory at Levante on Saturday, when his team went from losing, to drawing, and finally to winning in the last five minutes.

At 1-1, Levante’s Nabil El Zhar grabbed what looked to be the winner in the 86th minute, but Madrid substitute Alvaro Morata stepped up to level in the 90th.

Still facing what would have been a costly draw, Ronaldo’s last-gasp strike hit both a defender and the post before settling into the net to crush the hosts’ hopes of taking a point.

This was Ronaldo’s second winner for Madrid on the last shot of the game in the past seven days after he netted a penalty six minutes after full-time to grab a 2-1 win at Elche last Saturday. The Portugal forward has seven goals in league play — one fewer than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa — and 12 goals in 10 games in all competitions this season.

After a foul-ridden first 45 minutes, Levante opened through striker Babacar “Baba” Diawara in the 57th minute. Madrid was caught pressing forward when Levante got a three-on-two breakaway, and midfielder Jordi Xumetra floated a cross for Baba to beat goalkeeper Diego Lopez with a right-footed volley.

Sergio Ramos leveled four minutes later when the Madrid center back raced in at the second post and slammed in Angel Di Maria’s corner kick.

Madrid was again caught looking to score late when El Zhar did well to fend off Ramos in the area before he spun and fired the ball into the corner.

But Morata, who scored a late winner for Madrid here last season, coolly drove in his goal to finish a move started by fellow youngster Jese Rodriguez before Ronaldo pulled out his late heroics.

The victory put Madrid back in third place, five points behind Barcelona and two points behind Atletico before they host Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Barcelona didn’t miss the injured Messi as they cruised by Valladolid 4-1 at home, with Neymar scoring once and setting up one of Alexis Sanchez’s two goals.

Barca extended their club record with an eighth win in as many games to start the league under Gerardo Martino. Madrid hold the league milestone of nine wins to start the season in 1968.

Alexis’s long blast in the 52nd canceled out Javi Guerra’s 10th-minute opener for Valladolid.

Xavi slotted in Barcelona’s second in the 52nd minute before Neymar set up Alexis in the 64th. Alexis then returned the favor by generously passing back for Neymar to net his goal in the 70th.

Elsewhere, Real Sociedad lost their second game this week in agonizing fashion, when Rayo Vallecano substitute Jonathan Viera won and converted an 89th-minute penalty for a 1-0 win. Sociedad lost in injury time at Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Elche got their second straight victory thanks to forward Ferran “Coro” Corominas’ two goals in a 2-1 win over visiting Espanyol.