Defender Raphael Varane spared Real Madrid some blushes as his second-half goals helped the defending champions come from behind to win at last-placed Huesca 2-1 in the Spanish league on Saturday.
The victory moved Madrid back into second place in the standings, closer to league leader Atletico Madrid, which visits struggling Celta Vigo on Monday. Madrid trails Atletico by seven points and is three points in front of third-placed Barcelona, which is at Real Betis on Sunday.
Among Madrid’s recent setbacks were a loss to Athletic Bilbao in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup and embarrassing elimination by third-division club Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey round of 32.
Another was on the cards when Huesca scored from Javi Galns shot into the top corner following a 48th-minute counterattack. The hosts twice hit the woodwork while leading but Madrid equalized with a close-range header by Varane in the 55th after Karim Benzema’s free kick struck the crossbar.
Varane, who hadn’t scored in more than a year, added his second from close range in the 84th after a header by Casemiro.
Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made some key saves to secure the win for Madrid, whose injury list was added to by lvaro Odriozola in the second half because of an apparent muscle problem.
Earlier, veteran striker Roberto Soldado scored in second-half injury time for Granada to draw at Levante 2-2.