La Liga leaders Real Madrid stole a dramatic 3-2 win at relegation battlers Sporting Gijon with a 90th-minute goal from Isco.
Croatian forward Duje Cop volleyed the hosts into the lead on 14 minutes, only for Real — who made some nine changes from the midweek Champions League win over Bayern Munich — to hit back quickly when midfielder Isco smashed the ball into the top corner.
Mikel Vesga’s looping header put Sporting, who started the day five points adrift of safety, back in front at the start of the second half.
Zinedine Zidane’s men, though, were level again just before the hour when Alvaro Morata nodded in at the back post.
Just when it looked like Sporting would hold on for a point, Isco drilled a low shot into the bottom left corner from the edge of the penalty area to keep Real in charge at the top of the table, with the Clasico to come next weekend.
Atletico Madrid kept themselves ahead in the battle with Sevilla for third place after a 3-0 win over bottom club Osasuna at the Vicente Calderon, but missed two late penalties.
Coach Diego Simeone opted to leave Antoine Griezmann on the bench, cautious ahead of next week’s Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Leicester.
Atletico swept into the lead on 30 minutes when Belgian midfielder Yannick Carrasco drove the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.
It was 2-0 just after the start of the second half as Carrasco found the net again as he headed in a cross from Nicolas Gaitan at the far post.
Defender Filipe Luis added a third on the hour when he was picked out in the left side of the penalty area by Angel Correa.
Atletico missed the chance to further extend their advantage in a bizarre finish which saw two penalties missed during the final minutes.
First, Osasuna goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu brought down Correa, only to save Carrasco’s spot-kick with two minutes left.
As the game headed into the 90th minute, the referee again pointed to the spot for handball by Osasuna substitute Miguel De las Cuevas.
Sirigu, though, guessed correctly again, diving to stop Thomas Partey’s penalty into the bottom-left corner.
In Saturday’s early kickoff, Deportivo La Coruna eased their relegation concerns after beating Malaga 2-0 to record a first victory in five games.
Depor had only picked up one point in four matches since stunning Barcelona 2-1 a month ago, but second-half goals from Joselu and Pedro Mosquera helped them see off Malaga.
On loan Stoke forward Joselu opened the scoring two minutes after half-time at the Riazor when he powerfully headed home a left-wing cross.
Substitute Mosquera added a second in the 67th minute with a close-range finish to earn Depor, who started the weekend just six points above the drop zone, a much-needed win.