Ronaldo scores with backheel flick, saves Madrid from loss

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo shoots the ball during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Real Madrid's Marcelo, right, battles for the ball with Athletic Bilbao's Oscar de Marcos during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Athletic Bilbao during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. Ronaldo scored once and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, vies for the ball with Athletic Bilbao's Unai Nunez during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Athletic Bilbao during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. Ronaldo scored once and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, right, gestures to the referee next to Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, shoots the ball next to Athletic Bilbao's Unai Nunez during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. Ronaldo scored once and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, celebrates after scoring past Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. Ronaldo scored once and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

MADRID — Cristiano Ronaldo scored with a late backheel flick to help Real Madrid salvage a 1-1 home draw against Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league on Wednesday.

Ronaldo netted the 87th-minute equalizer with a subtle touch of the ball with his back to the goal, redirecting a low shot by Luka Modric from outside the area and keeping Madrid in the fight for second place.

Madrid moved within three points of Atletico Madrid, which visits Real Sociedad on Thursday.

Barcelona, which drew 2-2 at Celta Vigo on Tuesday, holds a 12-point lead at the top of the standings.

Inaki Williams put Athletic ahead with a chip shot from inside the area in the 14th, but Madrid pressured throughout the match at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium until finally breaking through with the neat close-range touch by Ronaldo, who extended his scoring streak to 12 consecutive matches to tie his best run with the Spanish club. He has 22 goals during that streak, and 26 goals in total in his last 15 matches.

Athletic goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who reportedly was close to being signed by Madrid in the offseason, had a great performance to keep the hosts at bay earlier.

Athletic nearly made it 2-0 when Raul Garcia struck the crossbar with a shot from near the penalty spot in the 66th.

Ronaldo had struck the woodwork with a header early in the first half.

It was the third straight game without a win at home for Madrid.

Athletic, sitting 13th in the standings, was looking for its first win at the Bernabeu since 2005.

VALENCIA'S SETBACK

Valencia stayed in fourth place after a 2-1 home loss to Getafe, its second straight setback after a run of nine consecutive matches unbeaten.

It had won its last five games at Mestalla Stadium, with its last defeat coming against Real Madrid in January.

Loic Remy scored a goal in each half for Getafe, which moved to eighth place with the victory.

Rodrigo scored his seventh goal in seven matches to pull Valencia closer in the 69th.

The hosts played the final minutes with 10 men as Dani Parejo was sent off for elbowing an opponent.

ESPANYOL STRUGGLES

Espanyol lost 1-0 to Eibar at home, extending its winless streak to five matches and increasing pressure on coach Enrique "Quique" Sanchez Flores.

Fans jeered the team and called for Quique's dismissal after the loss, the team's third straight.

Espanyol, which hasn't scored in five matches, still remains in danger of relegation. It is in 16th place, nine points from the relegation zone.

Eibar, sitting 11th, hadn't won in sixth consecutive matches.

Defender David Lomban netted the game's winner with a 32nd-minute header.

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More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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