Karim Benzema scored two penalties and missed a third as Real Madrid snatched an uncomfortable 2-1 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Celta began brightly and threw bodies forward inside the opening few minutes, but it was Real who had the first real chance.
Predictiably, it came through Benzema, who just couldn't dive far enough to guide his header inside the post and instead watched it fire against the side-netting ten minutes in.
Celta fired back soon after and Denis Suarez brought a great save out of Thibaut Courtois, who got across well to deal with the long-range effort.
Real's chance to really take control of the game, perhaps against the run of play, came 17 minutes in when Eder Militao was brought down in the penalty area by Nolito, and Benzema made the most of his second strike on goal to fire the visitors ahead.
Courtois was then called upon to keep his side ahead. The Belgian made another excellent diving save to stop a free-kick from Iago Aspas - he was by far the busier goalkeeper in the first 45.
He was, however, beaten by Thiago Galhardo five minutes before the break, only for VAR to come to his aid and rule the goal out for a narrow offside.
53 minutes in and Celta got the equaliser that they absolutely deserved. Nolito atoned for his earlier error to fire past Courtois and set up a fascinating second 45.
Real continued to struggle in attack but were again gifted the chance to take the lead from the spot after Rodrygo was felled, but Benzema's penalty was well saved this time around.
Penalty number three came just a few minutes after. This time, it was Ferland Mendy who went down in the box, and Benzema made no mistake with this strike to restore Real's advantage.
The home side didn't give up and continue to throw themselves at Courtois' goal, but the quality in the final third just wasn't there and Real managed to hold on to seal a nervy victory.
Real Madrid player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Thibaut Courtois (GK) - 7/10 - Courtois kept Real in this, there's no doubt about that. How many times have we said that this season?
Lucas Vazquez (RB) - 5/10 - Still not a right-back. Will never be a right-back.
Eder Militao (CB) - 5/10 - Didn't inspire a lot of confidence at the back and was definitely a little dramatic in winning the penalty, but he won't really care.
David Alaba (CB) - 4/10 - His small frame was exposed by Celta's crosses. Not great in the air and barely any better on the ground.
Ferland Mendy (LB) - 5/10 - A typical Mendy performance, great at the back and woeful going forwards. Won the decisive penalty, though.
Casemiro (DM) - 5/10 - Couldn't shield his defence at all. Looked completely overwhelmed at times.
Luka Modric (CM) - 4/10 - It's games like this in which his ageing legs look to be a problem. Celta's energy was far too much for him.
Toni Kroos (CM) - 5/10 - Left all the defending to Casemiro. No wonder this didn't work.
Marco Asensio (RW) - 3/10 - If he wants a big contract, he's going to have to do a whole load better than this in future.
Karim Benzema (ST) - 6/10 - Found it really hard to get involved but showed his quality from the spot.
Vinicius Junior (LW) - 5/10 - Not on it today. His crossing needs a lot of work.
Dani Carvajal (RB, 61' for Vazquez) - 5/10 - His best days definitely look to be behind him.
Rodrygo (RW, 61' for Asensio) - 5/10 - Definitely better than Asensio but that's not saying much.
Federico Valverde (CM, 74' for Modric) - 6/10 - His energy is becoming so important in this ageing midfield.
Nacho Fernandez (CB, 85' for Militao) - N/A
Dani Ceballos (CM, 85' for Kroos) - N/A