Real Madrid 2-1 Real Betis: Sergio Ramos strike sends Los Blancos top

It is almost expected now. Sergio Ramos was the hero yet again for Real Madrid with a late header to secure three precious points for Los Blancos at home to Betis on Sunday.

Ronaldo & Ramos headers save Madrid

Navas was extremely fortunate to avoid a red card in the first period when he came charging out of his box to intercept a long pass but missed the ball completely and took out Serbian midfielder Darko Brasanac. The Costa Rican was Madrid's last man and should have received his marching orders.

Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz waved play on and Navas survived, but the goalkeeper was in for an even worse moment just minutes later when he let Toni Sanabria's timid shot slip from his grasp when it should have been a routine save.

There were jeers for Navas when he touched the ball after that and his confidence seems shot following a number of bad mistakes in recent weeks. In fact, the Central American has made more errors leading to goals than any other Liga player this season in all competitions.

However, Cristiano Ronaldo equalised for Real from a Marcelo cross with his first-ever goal against Betis four minutes before half-time and after right-back Cristiano Piccini had been shown a 78th-minute red card, Ramos headed the home side's winner nine minutes from time.

But if Madrid thought Betis would crumble after that equaliser, they were mistaken as the Andalusians put up stubborn resistance in the second half, while also aided by some luck.

None more so than 17 minutes from time when Ronaldo was incorrectly judged to have been offside moments before racing through on goal and lobbing the onrushing Adan.

The home team's luck began to turn, though, when Piccini picked up a second booking for pulling back Lucas Vazquez as the substitute latched on to Marcelo's wonderful through ball, with Real ahead three minutes later.

Betis defender Matteo Piccinini was sent off for dragging back Lucas Vazquez with 12 minutes left, before Ramos powered in a Toni Kroos corner.

Sergio Ramos headed a late winner as Real Madrid recovered from a howler by keeper Keylor Navas to beat 10-man Real Betis to go top of La Liga.

Vital victory for Zinedine Zidane's Side

So it was a vital victory in the end for Zinedine Zidane's side, even if the performance again was less than impressive with James Rodriguez unable to sparkle on a rare start, Alvaro Morata willing but ultimately ineffective and Isco on one of his more frustrating nights.

It is on occasions like this one where the defence needs to be at its best and Madrid have gifted far too many goals over the past few weeks. They came through this test in the end, but relying on Ramos cannot always be an option and until the end of the season, Navas will be playing for his future at the Santiago Bernabeu.