Malaga went into Saturday's game at the Bernabéu with nothing to lose. They had never beaten Real Madrid on their home patch and simply aimed to consolidate their improved form after last week's victory over Deportivo La Coruña.
The visitors put up a respectable fight, equalising twice, but they were unable to bring the scores level a third time.
The Blue and Whites went behind early on, conceding a sloppy goal in the eighth minute from Karim Benzema. The Frenchman headed the ball into an empty net after Cristiano Ronaldo outjumped Diego González at the back post, hitting the bar from an almost impossible angle, before the ball fell into the six-yard box where Benzema could convert completely unopposed.
This setback, however, didn't demoralise Míchel's side who have showed greater fight in the last few weeks having racked up back-to-back home wins.
Recio came close with a piledriver from 20 yards before the Malaga high press capitalised on some sloppy Real play, with Keko the beneficiary, who clipped in a perfectly weighted ball for Diego Rolán to take down on his chest and volley past Kiko Casilla.
However, barely three minutes later, Los Blancos were back in the lead when Casemiro leapt highest to head home Toni Kroos' corner and ease the tension around the ground.
At this stage, it looked like the hosts would run away with the game, but some fine goalkeeping from Roberto denied Cristiano Ronaldo twice.
However, just before the break, Malaga thought they'd got a goal back when Paul Baysse looped a header over Casilla into the far corner, only for the referee to blow his whistle and signal for half time - much to the dismay of head coach Míchel.
His side showed no fear after the restart and Adrián's pot shot kept Casilla's gloves warm but there was little the stand-in stopper could do to prevent Chory Castro getting the second equaliser of the game - a shot from similar range which bounced just in front of the keeper before nestling into the side netting to the delight of the thousand or so travelling Malaguistas.
The emboldened Boquerones looked comfortable with their point until all of the hard work was undone by a clumsy foul from Luis Hernández on Luka Modric which gave Ronaldo the chance to regain his side the lead from the spot. Roberto denied the Portuguese once more, plunging to his right, but could do nothing to prevent the rebound hitting the roof of the net.
Malaga are still 'pointless' on the road this campaign but gave a good account of themselves in a game which took its toll in terms of injuries: Juankar was stretchered off with knee ligament damage which has ended his season, while Recio limped through the closing exchanges.