This day in history of Ronaldo
MADRID (AFP) - Valencia came within 30 seconds of shattering Real Madrid's 100 percent home record, but a Luis Figo penalty saved Real's bacon in a frantic finale to pinch a 1-1 draw, leaving Real two points clear in the Spanish first division.
Big defender Roberto Ayala looked to have won the spoils after leaping higher than anyone to head home after Pablo Aimar swung over a corner on 74 minutes to stun the 78,000 crowd.
Ayala might have dreamed of scoring for the hosts had a mooted move to Madrid materialised earlier in the season to bolster Real's suspect defence.
But he and his teammates were left shattered when, in injury time, a posse of Valencia defenders tussled with Raul and when the striker went down referee Pedro Trustante ruled he had been impeded, to Valencia's fury.
Real now lead the way with 53 points from 24 games, with Valencia on 51 and Deportivo La Coruna chasing strongly on 49.
Real lost away to Valencia in the autumn and if the sides now finish level on points Valencia will take the title on the head to head rule, which counts ahead of goal difference over the season.
David Beckham, who will skipper England in midweek against Portugal, picked up a fifth booking of the season as the Real star barged into Angulo in the first half, picking up a one-match ban for his pains.
He will now miss next week's trip to Espanyol after seeing his yellow card tally move two clear of his goals count in La Liga.
Beckham had earlier sent a low 30-metre freekick zipping just centimetres wide.
Real were missing French talisman Zinedine Zidane, suspended following his sending off in last week's Cup semi-final battle in Seville and Solari stepped into the breach to fill the midfield genius' shoes.
But in the absence of the fount of so much of their creativity Real lacked their usual fluidity.
Valencia keeper Santiago Canizares, four years a Real favourite, returned to his old stamping ground as the meanest keeper in La Liga with just 16 goals conceded - and just five away from home.
The visitors arrived boasting the best away record in the league, while Real went into the encounter having chalked up 11 home league successes in as many matches.
Equally important psychologically, the hosts had soundly beaten their rivals from the east coast home and away in the Spanish Cup in recent weeks.
After a quiet opening quarter of an hour Figo, industrious on Real's right flank, won a corner and when the ball came out Canizares made a superlative stop diving away to his left to deny Michel Salgado's crunching drive.
At the other end, Mista, whose probing runs had kept the Real backline busy, sent an acrobatic effort just wide of Casillas' right hand upright.
Raul almost broke the deadlock just three minutes after the restart but Canizares got both hands to his flying header.
Real were turning the screw and Beckham expertly played in Raul, who inexplicably missed the kind of chance the man who has scored more Champions League goals than any other player normally buries on autopilot.
Valencia coach Rafa Benitez withdrew the tiring Mista with 22 minutes remaining and sent on Brazilian Oliveira, who has eight goals to his credit.
But before Oliveira could do any damage in the Real penalty area controversy descended in the Valencia box as Figo left a boot trailing in Canizares' face, prompting a furious melee.
The foul earned a yellow card for the Portugal international, who could count himself fortunate to stay on the pitch.
For the penalty the pair exchanged words and Canizares then placed the ball on the spot himself - but Figo was unperturbed and thumped the ball home.
In other action on Sunday, Barcelona thanked goals from Saviola, Ronaldinho and Luis Garcia for a 3-1 home success over Atletico Madrid which cemented fourth place for the Catalan club as they chase the final Champions League qualifying slot.
Nikolaidis scored a consolation for Atletico, who welcomed back young strike star Fernando Torres but who are struggling to stay in contention themselves for such an exalted finish.
Barca still trail third-placed Deportivo La Coruna by nine points, however, after the latter thanked two goals from Victor for a 2-0 home win over Osasuna, who recently had won at Valencia.
Valencia came within 30 seconds of shattering Real Madrid's 100 percent home record, but a Luis Figo penalty saved Real's bacon in a frantic finale to pinch a 1-1 draw, leaving Real two points clear in the Spanish first division.