Real Madrid secured a hard-fought 2-1 win at Celta Vigo on Saturday as Karim Benzema's two penalties extended their lead at the top of LaLiga to 12 points.
The victory owed immense credit to the fact Madrid were awarded three spot-kicks at Estadio de Balaidos, with Benzema missing once but making sure with his other two attempts.
Nolito had equalised Benzema's first penalty early in the second half and the hosts pushed to win the game themselves, only to be undone at the other end.
Celta Vigo were furious with the referee, particularly for the third spot-kick given just minutes after France international Benzema had seen one saved by Matias Dituro, but Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti will not mind as he saw his team return to winning ways in the league following their Clasico humiliation last time out.
Madrid had their first penalty in the 18th minute when Nolito clipped the ankle of Eder Militao, with Benzema calmly rolling his effort to Dituro's left.
The hosts had made a good start despite the penalty, and Iago Aspas nearly equalised with a free-kick, only for Thibaut Courtois to make a superb save diving to his right, denying the former Liverpool man.
Celta Vigo thought they were level when Thiago Galhardo's header hit the inside of the post and rolled into the far corner of the net, but Aspas was judged to have been offside as well as stopping David Alaba from clearing the ball off the line.
Nolito made up for the penalty concession with the equaliser early in the second half as he swept home a cross from the left by Javi Galan.
Madrid had another chance from the spot just after the hour when Rodrygo was felled by Jeison Murillio, but Dituro made the save to deny Benzema down to his right.
However, the goalkeeper could do nothing about Los Blancos' third penalty of the game, with Benzema slotting this time after Ferland Mendy went over the trailing foot of Kevin Vazquez.
What does it mean? Madrid overcome big test
Celta Vigo do not have a good recent record against Real Madrid, now winless in their last 16 LaLiga matches against them (D2 L14) and have not beaten them since a 2-0 win in May 2014 when Luis Enrique was in charge.
However, they can consider themselves unlucky not to have taken something from a game in which they were often on top, having seven shots to Madrid's four in the first half, as well as being denied a goal for offside, while Courtois made some fine saves to deny them further.
Ancelotti's men improved in the second half though, and defended well in the closing stages to seal the win.
Benzema picks his spots
Being given three opportunities to score penalties in one game sounds like an ideal situation for any goal-getter, and especially one in the form of Benzema, who has now scored more goals (34) this season than he has in any other for the club.
It still takes nerves of steel to step up for a spot-kick though, especially in a close game like this one, and though the 34-year-old was denied with his second effort, he showed composure to slam the third home just moments later.
Celta need results
Despite a promising performance, Celta Vigo have now won just one of their last seven LaLiga games (D3 L3).
A European place is probably beyond them now as they sit in 11th place, nine points behind Villarreal who currently occupy the Europa Conference League spot.
Celta Vigo head to Espanyol in the league next Sunday. Real Madrid travel to Chelsea for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday before a home game with Getafe in LaLiga next Saturday.