Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice as Real Madrid beat Sporting Gijón

Real Madrid reeled off their sixth straight La Liga victory to remain in control at the top of the table, but were made to sweat by Sporting Gijon as they clung on to win 2-1.

A brace for Cristiano Ronaldo made it 10 goals in as many league matches this season, but while it was a return to normal service for him it was far from plain sailing for his team as they had to battle past their dogged opponents in atrocious conditions at the Bernabeu.

Carlos Carmona pulled a goal back for Sporting in the 35th minute and they had a golden chance to level it late on, but Duje Cop missed a penalty with 12 minutes to go as Real held on.

The win means they now head into El Clasico next weekend with at least a four-point cushion on Barcelona.

Real could not have wished for a better start as Ronaldo's fifth-minute penalty, following a foul on Lucas Vazquez, put them in early command.

The Portuguese sent a close-range header wide after finding space at a corner, but made no mistake when another chance came his way in the 18th minute.

Some intricate one-touch passing ended with the ball being fed out to Nacho on the left. His bending cross was angled perfectly for the run of Ronaldo, who leapt through the air to head it past Diego Marino in the Sporting goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his early penalty.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his early penalty.
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Nacho then had a goal ruled out for offside before the pendulum swung Sporting's way.

Douglas had a shot deflected wide by Cop before Real defender Pepe made a crucial headed clearance to prevent Carmona scoring from close range, injuring his ankle in the process.

Moi Gomez then tested Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas with a daisy-cutter which the Costa Rican could not hold on to in the slippery conditions. Sporting's pressure merited a goal and it arrived with 10 minutes of the first half left.

Luka Modric uncharacteristically gave away possession in his own half and Gomez's cross from the left was flicked goalwards by Carmona, who got ahead of his marker Mateo Kovacic and steered the ball beyond Navas' left hand.

Real were immediately on the attack in the second period and it took a stunning block with the studs of Fernando Amorebieta to deny Karim Benzema as he stooped to head goalwards.

Gomez was unable to apply the finish to a Carmona cross from the right in the 52nd minute before Marino made a stunning save at the other end.

Benzema looked certain to score as Vazquez stood the ball up to him two yards out, but Marino kept the ball out at point-blank range.

Chances came and went at either end with the three points for Madrid by no means safe.

Vazquez came close to sealing it as he slid in vain to get on the end of a Ronaldo ball into the box, with most inside the Bernabeu - and the Sporting defence - expecting a shot on goal from the Portuguese.

Real then had a huge let-off as Victor Rodriguez fell to the turf under a challenge from Nacho in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Cop stepped forward to take and, although he sent Navas the wrong way, he failed to keep his effort under control and it sailed over the top.

Navas denied Cop in the 82nd minute, while a Benzema cross three minutes later was just behind Vazquez and Marcelo as Real tried to kill the game off.

Ronaldo shot tamely at Marino after a lightning counter-attack, but there were no further goals as Zinedine Zidane and his men breathed a huge sigh of relief.