Sergio Ramos’ late goal rescued Real Madrid a 2-1 victory over Real Betis to put the Bernabeu club back atop the La Liga table.
A Keylor Navas own goal handed the visitors a 1-0 lead after 25 minutes, but Cristiano Ronaldo put Real level just before the half with a perfectly guided header from a Marcelo cross.
And Ramos played the hero in the 80th minute — the unmarked Spain international powering a patented header past Antonio Adan from a corner kick.
The win gives Zinedine Zidane’s men 62 points from 26 matches, two points more than second-placed Barcelona who have played an extra game.
Barcelona missed a chance earlier to go clear at the top of the league as they were beaten 2-1 by Deportivo La Coruna.
Luis Enrique’s side fell back to earth with a bang following their Champions League heroics against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.
Joselu put Deportivo ahead in the 40th minute but Luis Suarez had Barca level within a minute of the second half kicking off.
However, Alex Bergantinos secured all three points with a header in the 74th minute.
Roberto Soldado scored the winner just before half-time to move Villarreal to fifth place with a 1-0 defeat of Celta Vigo.
Villarreal’s third straight league win moved them above Real Sociedad in the standings. Both teams have 48 points, but Villarreal are ahead on goal difference.
Celta, winless in four league games, played without some regular starters ahead of their Europa League round-of-16 match at Russian team Krasnodar on Thursday. Celta won the first leg 2-1.
Athletic Bilbao strengthened their hold on seventh place with a 2-0 win at fifth-placed Real Sociedad.
Raul Garcia put Ernesto Valverde’s side ahead from the penalty spot in the 28th minute after Xabi Prieto fouled Yeray Alvarez.
In the 56th minute Inaki Williams took advantage of an underhit backpass by Alvaro Odriozola to double Athletic’s advantage and secure all three points.