With Real 2-1 down to Valencia at the Bernabeu, one man stepped up to win a point with a stunning goal in added time.
In a weekend where Atletico lost to Elche, and Barcelona drew at home to Getafe, the possibility was there for Real to really go out there and seize the La Liga initiative heading into the final few weeks of the season.
But, that didn't factor in an outstanding Valencia side, so nearly Europa League finalists on Thursday.
Los Che moved into the lead firstly with French defender Jeremy Mathieu's close range header, only for Sergio Ramos to equalise after the break. That would prove short-lived, with former Real youngster Dani Parejo scoring just minutes later.
Then came a prolonged, and seemingly unsuccessful period of Real attacks, as the home side tried time after time to breach the Valencia defence.
Heading into added time it looked like that wouldn't happen, and Real looked like suffering the heartbreak of failing on the very same day their crosstown rivals offered them a route back in to the title race.
But then, in the 92nd minute, a ball from the left seemed to be flying past Ronaldo, only for the Portuguese superstar to swivel his body away from goal and flick the ball into the net with the bottom of his boot. It was a phenomenal piece of skill, so calmly executed in such a moment of anxiety, and was up there with the very best nonchalant flicks PSG's striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has ever come up with.
This precious point, earned by Ronaldo's moment of genius improvisation, could be what wins Los Blancos La Liga. If all sides win their remaining games, except Atletico lose at Barca, Real will be champs. Barca know they have to win that game to have any chance of their own La Liga triumph, while Atletico will be tempted with the knowledge that a draw should be enough. It promises to be a fascinating final day.