Kaka came off the bench after six weeks out injured and produced a clinical finish from Cristiano Ronaldo’s assist to keep Real Madrid hot on the heels of leaders Barcelona in La Liga.
After Barcelona’s nervy 3-1 win at home to basement side Xerez in the earlier kick-off, Brazil’s World Cup-bound playmaker Kaka struck eight minutes from time to fire Real to a nail-biting 2-1 victory at 10-man Real Zaragoza.
Substitute Raul put Real ahead after 50 minutes and in a heated atmosphere at Zaragoza’s Romareda stadium the home side had defender Matteo Contini sent off soon after following a clash with Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Promoted Zaragoza, two points above the relegation places in 16th, fought back to level at 1-1 through Adrian Colunga in the 62nd minute before Kaka saved the day for big-spending Real.
The result lifted Manuel Pellegrini’s side to 86 points with four matches remaining, one behind Barca and 24 ahead of third-placed Valencia.