Cristiano Ronaldo scored in his eighth successive Liga game to salvage Real Madrid a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
Inaki Williams' chipped finish and a Kepa Arrizabalaga masterclass seemed to have been enough for Athletic, but despite the Basques ending their run of 12 straight defeats at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo popped up late on to divert Luka Modric's shot past the former Blancos target.
Madrid brought back Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Toni Kroos and Marcelo, as well as Modric and the Portuguese against Los Leones, who were languishing down in 13th place after just nine League wins all season.
However, they did hold Zinedine Zidane's side to a goalless draw earlier in the season, and after Keylor Navas denied Mikel San Jose one-on-one, he could only watch Williams lob the ball over him.
Ronaldo wasted no time in trying to force a quick equaliser, but he hit the bar with a header, before his low strike was pushed off the line by Kepa, who then showed Los Blancos what they were missing, plucking Raphael Varane's glancing effort out of the air.
Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio suddenly brought out the skills, turning Athletic's defenders inside out, but their goalkeeper managed to smother the former's cutback without fouling Ronaldo, prior to tipping the latter's finish around his far post.
The tempo died down after the restart, although Madrid nemesis Raul Garcia came desperately close to a second goal for the visitors, slamming a rebound from a sweeping attack on to Keylor's crossbar.
Los Merengues were similarly desperate for a spark or two, and they introduced Gareth Bale and Isco on the 70-minute mark.
Bale almost made an instant impact, hooking a cross just wide from close range, but the rescue mission was carried out by Ronaldo once more, the No 7 at the right place at the right time to divert Modric's daisy-cutter past Kepa late on.
Real Madrid 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Ronaldo 87 (RM) Williams 14 (AB)
Real Madrid: Keylor; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Vazquez, Modric, Kroos, Asensio (Isco 69); Benzema (Bale 69), Ronaldo
Athletic Bilbao: Kepa; De Marcos, Nunez, Inigo, Balenziaga; Iturraspe, San Jose; Lekue (Susaeta 79), Raul Garcia, Cordoba (Muniain 70); Williams (Aduriz 85)
Referee: Martinez Munuera