Madrid, March 2 (IANS) Real Madrid came close to suffering one of the most humbling defeats of the Zinedine Zidane era, but Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals to help the La Liga powerhouse salvage a 3-3 draw here against Las Palmas.
The Blancos appeared to be headed for an easy victory at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday when they got a goal in just the eighth minute from Isco, reports Efe.
But Las Palmas answered two minutes later with a powerful right-footed strike by midfielder Tana into the back of the net past Keylor Navas and kept the hosts off the scoreboard for the rest of the first half.
The real drama, however, started shortly after halftime when Gareth Bale lost his cool and got sent off for shoving Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera, leaving Real Madrid a man down with 45 minutes to play.
The game was tied at that point, but Viera made it 2-1 when he converted a penalty opportunity in the 56th minute.
After that Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng scored an insurance goal four minutes later when he tapped the ball away from Navas on a breakaway opportunity and then fired into an empty net.
Things looked bleak for the home side, but Cristiano Ronaldo demonstrated all of his class in converting a penalty try in the 87th minute and then scoring the equalizer two minutes later on a header that Las Palmas net minder Javi Varas could only deflect into the roof of the net.
With the draw, the Blancos moved to within one point of La Liga-leading FC Barcelona, which routed Sporting Gijon 6-1 earlier Wednesday night.
Real Madrid also has a game in hand on its arch-rival.