Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal and missed a penalty as Real Madrid dropped two vital points in the game against Malaga and in effect lost ground in their chase to catch up with La Liga leaders Barcelona on Sunday 21 February.
Real Madrid, coming from a great away win in Rome in the Champions League, never looked settled, especially at the back with Sergio Ramos having a bad start with suspect back passes to his keeper Keylor Navas who was as well unstable but quick enough to atone for his mistakes.
A forward burst from Real Madrid on the 17th minute saw Cameroonian keeper Carlos Kameni stop Jese and Isco fired over a minute later as the visitors started getting their act together.
Juanpi should have opened the scoring for Malaga on 19 minutes after a sloppy back pass from Toni Kroos but Navas once again came to the rescue and two minutes later his team mate Ricardo Horta had an even bigger miss, hitting the side netting when it was easier to score.
The real sucker punch then came on the 33rd minute, Dani Carvajal winning a free kick that was taken by Kroos who picked out Ronaldo and with a powerful header the Portuguese star, who seemed offside, fired home.
Ronaldo should have completed his brace two minutes later as a foul in the box from Weligton earned Real Madrid a spot kick but Kameni pulled a wonderful save.
Duje Cop forced Navas to yet another save as the teams headed to the break with Real on top and on the 66th minute, Weligton atoned for his sins in the first half, providing the pass to his fellow center back Raul Albentosa at the far post for the defender to crash the ball home.
The result saw Real Madrid temporarily leap past Atletico Madrid to second on 54 points, nine behind Barcelona while Malaga moves above Real Sociedad to tenth place on 31 points.