Match ends, Málaga 0, Real Madrid 1.
Malaga 0-1 Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo's first-half goal stretched Real Madrid's unbeaten run to 30 matches as the La Liga leaders beat Malaga.
The Portuguese found space to shoot low into the net from inside the area as Real kept the pressure on their title rivals.
Carlo Ancelotti's men were not at their best but were rarely troubled by relegation-threatened Malaga.
Isco shot over for Real when through on goal in an uneventful second half.
The win keeps Real three points clear of city rivals Atletico Madrid, who beat Espanyol 1-0 later on Saturday.
Defending champions Barcelona are seven points behind Real but could reduce that deficit at home to Osasuna on Sunday.
Real have not been beaten since a 2-1 defeat at the Nou Camp in October, a run stretching 30 matches in all competitions.
They entertain Schalke in the Champions League last-16 second leg on Tuesday, leading 6-1 from the first match.
After a quiet start, Ronaldo settled any nerves from the visitors with an impressive strike to take his goal tally in all competitions to 39 for the season.
The former Manchester United man wriggled his way past a couple of Malaga defenders before firing clinically into the net from inside the area.
He almost doubled Real's lead soon after, having a shot blocked by the outstretched leg of Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
Real did suffer a blow before the break as France striker Karim Benzema limped off injured and they struggled to find their usual attacking rhythm.
Former Malaga midfielder Isco should have doubled the lead after the break but he shot over after being put clear on goal.
- 15AngeleriSubstituted forEl Hamdaouiat 86'minutes
- 5AntunesBooked at 19mins
- 12TissoneSubstituted forPortilloat 68'minutes
- 24García SánchezSubstituted forIakovenkoat 68'minutes
- 9Santa Cruz
- 17Barbosa ValenteBooked at 61mins
- 23N Amrabat
- 7El Hamdaoui
- 19ModricSubstituted forIllarramendiat 90'minutes
- 23IscoSubstituted forRodríguez Ruizat 63'minutes
- 9BenzemaSubstituted forDi Maríaat 32'minutes
- 7Cristiano Ronaldo
- 5da Silva Coentrão
- 20Rodríguez Ruiz
- 22Di María
- Juan Martínez Munuera
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Málaga 0, Real Madrid 1.
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nourredine Amrabat (Málaga).
Substitution, Real Madrid. Asier Illarramendi replaces Luka Modric.
Corner, Real Madrid. Conceded by Vitorino Antunes.
Foul by Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).
Francisco Portillo (Málaga) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gareth Bale.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ignacio Camacho (Málaga).
Attempt missed. Roque Santa Cruz (Málaga) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Substitution, Málaga. Mounir El Hamdaoui replaces Marcos Angeleri.
Foul by Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid).
Duda (Málaga) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jesé.
Attempt saved. Flavio Ferreira (Málaga) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nourredine Amrabat with a cross.
Corner, Málaga. Conceded by Pepe.
Corner, Málaga. Conceded by Marcelo.
Foul by Jesé (Real Madrid).