Real Madrid overcame a stubborn Rayo Vallecano side to claim a hard-fought 2-0 win and close the gap on Barcelona back to four points.
Ancelotti’s side came into the game at the Vallecas seven points behind the Liga leaders following their 4-0 win over Almeria earlier, with Rayo Vallecano enjoying the better of the first half as they went toe-to-toe with Real.
But Real Madrid’s superior quality and threat in attack told in the second half, with Cristiano Ronaldo heading home the opener after 68 minutes following excellent work by Dani Carvajal down the right wing.
However, that was not before Ronaldo had strong claims for a penalty kick turned down, with the Portuguese winger booked for diving despite having his legs cleaned out by the reckless challenge of defender Antonio Amaya.
The opening goal seemed to settle Real Madrid, and James Rodriguez added the second five minutes after the opener, sweeping home from the edge of the penalty area after a counter-attacking move from Real Madrid involving Ronaldo and Carvajal.