The reigning European champions knew that victory was vital in order to keep pressure on rivals Barcelona, who sat two points above them as the Madrid players strolled out onto the Estadio José Zorrilla turf.
Despite the absence of Luka Modrić, Eduardo Camavinga, and Aurelién Tchouaméni after their involvement in the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup, Los Blancos dominated the opening stages and Marco Asensio saw his early effort impressively thwarted by Jordi Masip.
Karim Benzema, who was deemed surplus to requirements for France’s World Cup squad, found himself mostly limited in the opening period by a stubborn Valladolid backline, though he perhaps should have done better when blazing one of his few first-half efforts over the bar.
Los Blancos looked like a team who knew exactly what was at stake as they went furiously in search of the lead in the second half.
Prior to that opportunity, Valladolid frontman Sergio León drew another fine save from Courtois, who was arguably one of Madrid’s better performers on the night.
It was perhaps unsurprising that the hosts dropped deep in order to preserve what could be a vital point.